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A pilot survey of graduate study and employment experience was carried out as part of the Eurograduate project, the results of which were published by the European Commission early in June 2020 as part of the publication entitled Eurograduate Pilot Survey – Design and implementation of a pilot European graduate survey and the overview of results of Eurograduate Pilot Study – Key findings. One of the conclusions of the survey is that graduate tracking is key for improving the education and training system.

Along with Croatia, seven other European states were surveyed in the project, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta and Norway, which enabled comparison of study and living conditions of graduates in different European countries. National survey reports will be published subsequently.

The survey involved 21,000 graduates who graduated from an undergraduate or graduate study in the academic years 2012/2013 and 2016/2017, i.e. one and five years after graduation. The Croatian part of the survey was carried out from October to December 2018 by the Agency for Science and Higher Education and the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb.

Comprehensive data were gathered on the respondents’ origin, their mother tongue, socioeconomic background, education, professional experience, current employment and family status, place of residence and mobility, as well as opinions about various topics such as applicability of skills developed during higher education.

Some of the conclusions of the survey indicate that experience abroad during the period of study enhances problem solving skills. Activating learning environments with mixed instruction styles, which use problem/project based learning along with traditional forms of teaching and learning, enable better preparation for the labour market.

The results of the pilot survey will enable insight into the issue of transition of graduates to the labour market for the purpose of conducting more comprehensive surveys and improving the training and education in Europe.

Eurograduate project is co-financed from the EU funds within the Erasmus+ programme.

Summary of the main findings

  • Youth unemployment rates were, at the time of the study, the highest in Greece (39.9%) and Croatia (23.8%) and the lowest in Germany (6.2%).
  • Graduates are most satisfied with higher education in an activating learning environment.
  • Having a job that matches education level and field is mostly influenced by the labour market of the country, studying STEM-related fields, having study-related work, activating learning experience during studies and having higher educated parents.
  • About 4 in 5 graduates in each country have a permanent contract five years after graduation; male graduates are generally more likely to have permanent contracts than female graduates.
  • Earnings differ significantly by country, with graduates working in Germany and Norway registering double the gross earnings than those in Croatia.
  • The highest earnings are paid to Technology and Engineering graduates and the lowest to Education, Arts and Humanities graduates.
  • Having satisfactory income is mostly influenced by: the labour market of the country, having a job that matches the qualification, having a Master degree, sex (on average, female graduates earn less).
  • The highest job satisfaction is observed in Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • In almost all countries, less than half of graduates report that their higher education provided a very good basis for the development of skills such as advanced literacy, numeracy and digital skills, as well as social, entrepreneurial and managerial skills.
  • Advanced ICT skills are developed according to the field of study and type of HEI (studying at a study programme at a research university increases the level of ICT skills).
  • Exposure to foreign languages and foreign cultures increases problem-solving skills.
  • In total, 13% of the respondents had a study abroad experience, mainly through the EU mobility programmes, and the lowest participation in mobility is reported among respondents in Greece and Croatia.
  • However, moving to study abroad for another degree (after acquiring a Bachelor degree) was highest for Croatian and Greek graduates.
  • Greece is the country with the highest number of graduates likely to leave the country, while Norway and Germany are the countries with the lowest share of graduates who moved abroad after graduation.
  • On average, graduates working outside of the country of graduation earn nearly 30% more than those who stay in the country, even at lower-ranking positions; for example, Greek graduates earn on average 2000 euros more per month if they leave Greece. The opposite effect is observed for Norwegian graduates; they lose almost 2000 euros of earnings per months by not living in Norway.
  • Those that are unemployed or are working in a job that fits neither their degree level nor their field of study are significantly less likely to be happy, to be healthy and are significantly less likely trust others.
  • Activating learning environments and international mobility are associated with more political participation, and higher levels of trust in democratic values.

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