Since 2005, the placement of Finnish university graduates in the labour market has been monitored by conducting career tracking surveys, which aim to determine how well university education is able to meet the requirements of professional life. The data collected is used, among other things, for developing the career skills of current students.
Effects of the coronavirus situation a special theme in this year’s survey
A special theme of this autumn’s career tracking survey is the effect of the exceptional circumstances brought about by the coronavirus pandemic on the employment and labour market situation of university graduates:
“We want to get first-hand information on how the coronavirus period has affected ways of working, the content of work and the skills needed in work. To what degree have the circumstances transformed work in different fields, such as teaching, medicine, journalism or research? We need more information to make university education meet future needs even better,” says Eric Carver, specialist in charge of career tracking surveys at Strategic Services for Teaching.
Job description for professorships of practice shaped through experience
The first appointments to the position of professor of practice were made at the University of Helsinki in 2017, with the appointees also tasked with bringing professional life and studying closer together. At the University of Helsinki, a holder of a doctoral degree with professional merits and experience of particular significance from outside the academic world may be appointed to the position of professor of practice. Pekka Sauri, professor of practice in organisational communication, was among the first appointees, and his three-year term is coming to an end this autumn.
Sauri says he has had ample opportunities to influence his duties in the position. In the past three years, he has, for example, coordinated career-oriented courses for master’s students of the Faculty of Social Sciences, contributed to the Faculty’s operations and served as a visiting lecturer on the courses of others. Sauri's courses have also had a solid foundation in case examples originating in professional life:
“I’ve invited visiting lecturers diversely from different sectors of society to talk about current topics on my lecture-based courses. Among the people who have given presentations on organisational communication to students are Olli Rehn, governor of the Bank of Finland, and Päivi Anttikoski, director of government communications at the Prime Minister’s Office,” says Sauri.
Professional life and studying must be brought closer already during studies
Sauri points out that students need to get diverse information and examples of professional life already during their studies to improve their qualifications to enter the labour market:
“The University has a strong need to bring studying and professional life closer together,” Sauri sums up.
According to Sauri, the career-related experiences of alumni directly benefit students, as they can use them to expand their views of employment opportunities and gain a realistic notion of how different organisations function.
Eric Carver, specialist in charge of career tracking surveys, agrees with Sauri and adds that the information gained from the surveys also makes it possible to alleviate students’ concerns regarding employment:
“Knowledge of the varying career paths of earlier graduates helps current and future students contemplate their own future. Students and degree programmes are particularly interested in information on the skills needed in different positions. The University’s degree programmes monitor the development of the competence requirements on the labour market, for example, by utilising the Osaamistutka (‘Skills radar’) application developed at the University, which has been collecting data on graduates’ skills requirements in conjunction with the surveys for more than 10 years,” Carver says.