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The Barometer of University Employability and Employment in Spain

The Observatory of Employability and University Employment is a network of researchers and professionals, whose objective is to analyse which objective is to analyse the employability of Spanish university graduates. The Observatory of Employability and University Employment is the initiative by the UNESCO Chair of University Management and Policy, CRUE Spanish Universities and the “Obra Social la Caixa”. The observatory of Employability and University Employment have developed the Barometer of University Employability

The Barometer has two editions: the first edition (2016) studied the employability of university students of the first and the second educational cycles; and the second edition (published in March 2018) focuses on the employability of the graduates of Master’s degree programmes in Spain. The Barometer analyses the relationship between the universities and the companies, based on the information extracted from the administrative records of the universities and from a survey of the graduates about their work trajectory and the assessment of the role that the university education.

In particular, the latest edition of the Barometer analyses the employability of the master’s degree graduates who finished their studies during the 2013/2014 academic years. 6,738 graduates of 50 Spanish universities, both public and private were surveyed in this study. It studies, among others, the following aspects: the usefulness of the master’s degree for employability, the use and knowledge of the practices in the incorporation to the labour market, the most important or necessary competences for obtaining a job, or how it has been useful for students to manage the job.

Results show that 41.13% of graduates ultimately engaged with the work positions related to their fields of study at the master’s level. This is what the barometer calls “horizontal adjustment – the relationship between the contents / theme of the studies carried out and the functions performed in the company. Moreover, 24.20% of the graduates consider that there is close relationship between the subject of their master’s degree and the functions they perform in their current job. Only 34.67% consider that there is no relationship or that the connection is very low.

Some positive data on the employability of students who have completed a master’s degree are the following:

– 49.51% state that they have never been unemployed since the master’s degree ended.

– Among those who have been newly employed after finishing their master’s degree, more than 50% got it within the first six months, and 26.75% within the first three months of degree completion.

– 44.84% of the graduates continued working at the same organisations

An important aspect, not only for the transition of the graduates to the labour market but also for the actual training of students is the possibility of undertaking internships in companies. However, it is noticeable that the students are not aware of the existence of the internship programs at their universities. The majority of graduates (56.59%) do not know about the existence of an internship and employment service at their university. In the same way, most of the graduates who know these services have used it (56.66%). The availability of practical experience gained during the internship period isseen as highly important for the students, rated the second after the opportunity to participate in research projects.

Additionally, the Barometer analyses the most required generic competences in employment. It considers 26 competences, and among them, distinguishes “problem solving capacity”, “adaptability to new situations” and “capacity to manage the pressure “. The evaluations made by graduates on how the master’s degree helped them acquire these skills are, in general, positive, although not very high.

Finally, based on all the results, and the contribution from the experts, the Barometer, proposes a series of recommendations to improve the relationship between universities and business sector for developing the labour-market relevant skills of the students..  The Barometer stresses out the importance to study the university-business relationship for improving graduates’ employability and skills development through internships further.


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