The University of Helsinki’s latest career monitoring survey focuses on the employment and degree satisfaction of University graduates with a master’s degree, a Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) degree or an early childhood education teacher degree.
The results are excellent: most respondents are satisfied with the education they have received in terms of their careers. The share of satisfied respondents even increased by two percentage points from the previous survey, a statistically significant change.
Alumni of the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are the most satisfied with their degrees.
Only 1% unemployed – Breaks in employment more common
The news pertaining to the employment of alumni are also positive: almost all survey respondents are employed, with only 1% unemployed.
Respondents from all faculties consider the ability communicate their skills the most important factor affecting employment. In other words, this skill is essential; in previous years too, it has been ranked highest among the skills relevant to finding employment.
In the latest career monitoring survey, the manner of querying experiences of unemployment after graduation was changed. It is possible that the previous method of asking resulted in short-term periods of unemployment (e.g., less than a month) going unreported.
From among respondents, 42% had been unemployed at some point in the five-year period after graduation. For 29% of respondents, the break in employment had lasted less than six months. Long-term unemployment is rare.
“The share of those who have been unemployed for under six months has grown from the previous survey. The good news is that the share of graduates with experience of unemployment lasting more than six months has decreased,” says Specialist Eric Carver from the Strategic Services for Teaching unit.
“It is also possible that the increase in short-term unemployment after graduation is a genuine phenomenon, and the rewording of the question is not the sole explanatory factor. The increase in short-term unemployment could be explained, for example, by the coronavirus pandemic, during which, especially in spring 2020, many people including graduates of the University of Helsinki were furloughed,” Carver notes.
Investment needed in skills relevant to everyone
The career monitoring survey shows that certain skills are important for practically all graduates of the University of Helsinki in their careers, including the ability to learn and acquire new information, self-direction, cooperation, problem-solving skills and stress tolerance.
For the first time, also queried in the survey were skills needs central to the future. Almost all respondents considered self-regulation skills important, including the ability to learn new things, stress tolerance and initiative.
Thinking skills, such as problem-solving, decision-making, a critical mindset and creativity, as well as knowledge-integration, were also considered increasingly important.
“These are skills that are important regardless of the field,” Carver says.
“Respondents believe that the importance of practically all the above skills will increase in the future, which is why we should invest in them.”
The results of the career monitoring survey are used to develop teaching at the University, making the feedback gained valuable.
Doctoral graduates also satisfied with degrees
The latest career monitoring survey also charts the employment of doctoral graduates from 2018 and their satisfaction with their degrees. As in the case of master’s degree holders, the results for doctoral graduates are good, with as many as 98% of the doctoral graduates who responded to the survey employed, and only 1 % unemployed.
More than 85% of respondents with a doctoral degree are able to use their knowledge and skills acquired at university in their job, and are satisfied with their degrees in terms of their career. Four-fifths have jobs whose requirements correspond to their academic qualification.
According to the doctoral degree holders who responded to the survey, a previous second-cycle (master’s) degree and the ability to describe personal skills are the most important factors affecting employment. Doctoral degrees, work experience and networks also are considered important.
Doctoral graduate respondents consider metacognitive skills, such as the ability to learn new things and self-direction, the most important skills in terms of their work. Respondents also consider analytical and systematic thinking, problem-solving skills and other high-level cognitive skills important. These skills are also considered important for the future.
Career monitoring survey results affect university funding
The career monitoring survey of master’s graduates affects the model for the distribution of funding to Finnish universities. The measures used include the number of graduates employed and the quality of education assessed on the basis of the survey responses.
The next career monitoring survey will begin on Monday, 3 October. This time, the survey will target the master’s graduates of 2017 and the doctoral graduates of 2019. The survey will be sent separately to each prospective respondent.
A summary of the results of the 2021 career monitoring survey, master’s graduates
- University of Helsinki graduates who have completed a master’s degree, a Bachelor of Science (Pharmacy) degree or an early childhood education teacher degree have excellent job prospects. Five years after graduation, 95% of survey respondents were employed, 1% were unemployed, and 4% were outside the workforce. Those outside the workforce consist of, for example, full-time students.
- Roughly 85% of respondents are satisfied with their degrees in terms of their career, have a job whose requirements correspond to their academic qualifications, and are able to use the knowledge and skills acquired at university in their job.
- Graduates from the 11 faculties of the University of Helsinki find employment in a wide range of specialist roles. Five years after graduation, 17% worked with customers and patients. A total of 15% of respondents were employed in the teaching and education sector, while an equivalent share worked in administration, planning and development. Research was the principal professional duty of 11% of respondents.
- One in three respondents worked in companies, and just under a third worked for municipalities. Other significant employers include the government, universities and the third sector. A little under one quarter of respondents have worked as an entrepreneur, freelancer or self-employed professional after graduation.
- From among respondents, 42% had been unemployed at some point in the five-year period after graduation. For 29% of respondents, the break in employment had lasted less than six months. Long-term unemployment is rare.
- The graduates expressed their strongest criticism in their assessment of whether their education equipped them sufficiently for the job market. A little over two-thirds (69%) agree at least somewhat with this statement. However, the assessment is more positive compared with that of the 2015 graduates (65%). The change is statistically significant.
- Differences between faculties are partly significant in the assessment of the correlation between education and employment.
- The share of graduates satisfied with their degrees varies from 97% for the Faculty of Medicine to 73% for the Faculty of Theology. The distribution of responses highlights the difference between fields of education that prepare students either for a particular profession or role, or for a wide range of specialist positions. The correlation between education and employment is, on average, assessed more positively in the former than in the latter fields. However, it is important to note that views also differ significantly within faculties and fields of education.
A summary of the results of the 2021 career monitoring survey, doctoral graduates
- Doctoral graduates from the University of Helsinki have excellent employment prospects. Three years after graduation, 98% of survey respondents were employed, 1% were unemployed, and 1% were outside the workforce.
- Four-fifths of respondents have jobs whose requirements correspond to their academic qualification. More than 85% of respondents are able to use their knowledge and skills acquired at university in their job, and are satisfied with their degrees in terms of their career.
- Almost half of doctoral graduates conduct research as their primary duty. In general, doctoral graduates hold a wide range of roles, depending on their fields of education and research. From among doctoral graduates, 37% find employment in the University sector, 22% in companies and 13% in the government sector.