22 SES 02 B, Employability and Transition to Work of Higher Education Graduates
Parallel Paper Session
The improvement of graduate employability, as expressed in the London Communiqué (2007), is an important goal of European countries and their universities. The success of university graduates on the labour market becomes therefore an important dimension of university performance. As a consequence, the employment of graduates has been considered as a possible instrument for the assessment of universities. The assessment of universities based on their output (or outcome) is also in line with the modernisation agenda of the European Commission (2008). It recommends public funding of universities based on output factors. Yet, the criterion of employability has hardly been introduced to the allocation of university funding. An exception however is France which introduced a new law (Loi de 2007 sur l’autonomie des universités) which allows to allocate a part of the funds based on the professional insertion.
The present literature however suggests that an assessment of universities based on their graduates’ employability is likely to be biased by structural factors like the regional unemployment or the supply of jobs, by institutional characteristics like the offered subjects of study or the type of degrees, and (to a lesser degree) also by the composition of the students (Bourdon et al. 2011, Giret and Goudard 2010, Lopez and Hallier 2009). At the same time, the results suggest that the ranking of the universities varies considerably by the type of performance indicator (Lopez and Hallier 2009).
The goal of our study is to present a methodology which allows a fair ranking of universities independent of their faculty composition and to identify factors which can explain the ranking of the universities. We establish different indicators measuring graduates’ labour market success. Special attention is given to the employment rate of the graduates and the proportion of graduates who found a job corresponding to their degree. We examine the robustness of the deduced university rankings and try to detect institutional and structural factors which influence the ranking of universities based on the degree of labour market success of their graduates. For this purpose, we distinguish exogenous factors (regional unemployment rate, cantonal baccalaureate rate), half-exogenous factors (percentage of female and foreign graduates) as well as factors which can be determined by the universities themselves (size of university, size of departments, student-teacher ratios, costs per students).
Bourdon, J., Giret, J.-F., and Goudard, M. (2011). Peut-on classer les universités en fonction de leur performance d'insertion? IREDU Working Paper, Université de Bourgogne. Dijon. European Commission. (2008). Funding Reform: Volume 1: Executive Summary and Main Report (CONTRACT - 2008 -3544 /001 -001 ERA-ERPROG): European Commission (Progress in higher education reform across Europe). http://ec.europa.eu/education/higher-education/doc/funding/vol1_en.pdf (27.7.2011). Giret, J.-F. & Goudard, M. (2010). Mesure des effets établissement sur le salaire des diplômés du supérieur. Net.Doc. 72. Marseille: Céreq. London Communiqué (2007). http://www.ond.vlaanderen.be/hogeronderwijs/bologna/documents/MDC/London_Communique18May2007.pdf (10.1.2012). Lopez, A. & Hallier, P. (2009). Comparer les universités au regard de l’insertion professionnelle de leurs étudiants: Quelques simulations à partir des enquêtes "Génération". Net.Doc. 54. Marseille: Céreq.
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