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Content archived on 2024-05-14

Higher education and graduate employment in Europe


The project aims to analyse current developments in the relationship between higher education and the world of work in Europe. It will, first, address the role recent contextual changes play for graduate employment and work: new technological demands, new types of job roles in the wake of expansion of higher education, unemployment and other serious employment problems, the growing role played by social affective motivational competences, the links between higher education and the region, and finally the emerging Europeanization and internationalisation of graduate work. Second, the study will analyse the impacts socio-biographical and educational background, structural and curricular diversity of higher education, study behaviour and finally experiences in the transition process from study to employment have on the early career of graduates.

For this purpose, up to 72,000 questionnaires will be send to graduates about three years after graduation - 8,000 in each of the nine countries included, i.e. Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. A return quota of about 50 percent is expected. Additionally, interviews will be conducted with altogether more than 200 heads of personnel offices as well as more than 200 graduates previously responding to the questionnaire. These studies aim at providing indepth information on the competences expected, employment conditions and work assignments as well as the professional utilisation of competences acquired during the course of study.

The project will be based on the co-operation of mostly sociologists and economists highly experienced in research on the relationship between higher education and employment/work, labour market issues, International comparison as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods. Beyond the substantive academic and policy relevance of the findings, the project aims to provide the conceptual, methodological and instrument basis for regular large-scale European graduate surveys in the future. It seeks for support from TSER notably in the area II.3.1.4: "Transition from school to work: comparative research on mechanisms and patterns of individual and group 'trajectories', but also aims to contribute to methodological improvement of studies on job requirements (II.3.1.2) as well to the understanding of changes of employment due to technological developments (I.2.1) and of disadvantages due to regional and other socio-biographic factors (III.2).

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