Performance of the Alumni of Estonian Universities in the Labour Market?
The universities have been studying how their alumni cope in the labour market since the beginning of the 2000s. However, a comprehensive simultaneous research covering all universities was conducted for the fist time in 2011, when the graduates of 2009 were interviewed (Eamets, Krillo, Themas 2011). The alumni study of 2012 dealt with the factors inflencing the choice of specialty, satisfaction with studies, working during studies, plans after graduation, success on the labour market and acquired competences. The assessment of foreign alumni of the higher education given in Estonia was also studied. The article focuses on two questions: 1) How do university graduates cope in the labour market? 2) To what extent are they satisfid with the studies they have completed? The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Archimedes Foundation.
The study is mostly based on primary data that were collected by both quantitative and qualitative methods. The data were mostly obtained from a web-based questionnaire that was compiled on the basis of the questionnaire used in the 2009 alumni study to ensure comparability. The fial number of respondents was nearly 3300, which makes the response rate 30 percent. This is suffiient for making all-Estonian generalisations. Besides that, half-structured interviews with 20 foreign alumni were conducted.
After graduation from university, most of the respondents worked at a job that required the education level of the respondent. 65 percent of the graduates with bachelor’s degree work at job where bachelor’s degree is required. In the case of the graduates with master’s degree, the relevant indicator is 58 percent. And 70 percent of the graduates with doctor’s degree work at jobs requiring doctor’s degree.
On the basis of the 2012 alumni study, it can be said that the graduates of Estonian universities generally cope well. The graduates are aware of their choice of specialty and the satisfaction with the studies completed is high. Two years after graduation, 82 percent of respondents have a job; the percentage of unemployed is around two, which is considerably lower than the Estonian average. The main reason for the choice of a job is its connection with the specialty studied. 75 percent of graduates work at a job requiring higher education. Most of the graduates are satisfid with their jobs.
The main problems that can be pointed out are not enough practice and shortages in certain general competences (e.g. managerial competence).