What are your chances on the labour market?
A recent survey among 3,223 university students who graduated in the middle of the crisis showed that the unemployment rate among university graduates is not too alarming. A year and a half after graduation only 5% of them were looking for a job. However, the effort to get a job increased; from 12.5 job applications compared to eight applications in 2009. In addition, salary, the chances for a permanent position and the fringe benefits decreased over the last two years. This article gives you some insight into the relative labour market position of graduates in the field of economics, business, economics of taxation and econometrics compared to the average labour market position of university graduates in almost 50 degree programmes. You will also find some answers to questions like: how did these graduates obtain their job during the crisis, what channels did they use and what factors influenced the search time for a job?
1. How to get a job?
2. Salary and prospect on a permanent position
3. Regretting the choice of study
Table 1 shows that the main part of the university graduates of the 2009-2010 batch obtained their job by applying for an ‘existing job opening’, followed by ‘was asked for a job’ and ‘getting a job by internal procedure or internship’. Only a small part did find a job by an ‘unsolicited application’. Graduates in economics differ from others, because the way they got a job ‘was asked of a job’ played a minor role, while ‘networking’ played a relatively important role.
economics of taxation
Source: Studie & Werk 2012, statistical appendix.
On average graduates applied almost 13 times before they got the appropriate job. About 30% of the applications led to an interview (see table 2). For graduates in the field of business, econometrics and economics of taxations half or more than half of the applications led to an interview.
Table 2 Number of applications and interviews
The job search time is the period in which graduates started to look for an academic job and find one. The search time depends on the kind of degree programme one studies. For example if you study Arts the search is probably longer than if you study Medicine. The survey concluded that the job search time can also be influence by:
High grades: compared to a 6, a 10 shortens the job search time almost with 45%, a 9 with 36%, an 8 with 26 % and a 7 with 14%.
Age: the older the graduate the longer the search time. It takes 19% more time for 28-year old graduates to find an academic job than for their colleagues 5 year younger.
Living conditions: only a small percentage university graduates lives at home (8%). For this group the search time is 38% longer than for the ones living away from home.
Ethnicity: recently graduated immigrants needs 22% more time to find an university job than autochthons
Extra-curricular experience: the job search time shortens with 14 % for graduates with appropriate work experience and 1% with international experience.
The time needed to find the appropriate job on an academic level decreased nationwide slightly from 5 to 4.8 months. For business graduates and economists the search time was above 6 months. Compared to the average job search time for all graduates the econometricians (< 3 months) and economics of taxations (4 months) search time was clearly shorter. For students who were prepared to accept a job below their academic level the average search time was shorter.
2. Salary and prospect of a permanent position
gross monthly salary
factual working hours
agreed working hours
Table 4 shows that a year and a half after graduation 64% of the economists, 48% of the business, 72% of the econometricians and 66% of the economists of taxation graduates obtained a permanent position. This is much higher than the national average of all degree programmes.
Table 4 Permanent position and prospect for a permanent position (%, 1.5 year after graduation)
permanent + prospect
Of the academic graduates 17% regret their choice of study. Mostly graduates in degrees in langue, literature, culture and economics regret their choice of study. The graduates in language, literature, culture because the limited jobs available after graduation and the economists because the education programme was not very inspiring.
The data show that compared with other universities’ degree programmes, graduates in the field of economics, business, econometrics and economics of taxation performed relatively well on the labour market. Compared with almost 50 degree programmes nationwide they earned a relatively high salary and have a relatively high chance of landing in a permanent position. However, the search time to find a job on a university level is relatively long. To some extent you can shorten the job search time by getting high grades, gain work experience, and finish your study in time.
If you need some guidance in picking your career path please contact the faculty’s Career Office, www.rug.nl/feb/career.
This article is based on the survey ‘Studie & werk 2012’. The survey analyses nationwide the labour market situation 1.5 years after graduation of the 2009, 2010 batch. The survey was held in the first two months of 2012. It encompasses about 109 degree programmes of universities and universities of applied sciences. In this article we used ‘Studie & Werk’ data to compare the labour market situation of university graduates in the degree programmes economics, econometrics, business and economics of taxation with the average labour market position of university graduates in almost 50 university degree programmes in the Netherlands.
SEO economisch onderzoek, Studie & Werk 2012 in: Elsevier, no. 23, 9 June 2012, download for free
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