Career-monitoring surveys provide a good overview on what kinds of qualifications studies provide for professional life. Each year, Finnish universities ask those who graduated with a master’s degree five years ago how their degree has benefited them and what they think about their education and early career.
The latest career-monitoring reports of the University of Helsinki, published on 27 September, are based on the responses of master’s degree graduates from 2013 and doctoral graduates from 2015.
National monitoring surveys have been conducted since 2004. Looking at the average scores given on the university level, satisfaction in degrees completed at the University of Helsinki has fluctuated relatively little over the years, although the latest survey showed a slight decrease.
Still, 81% of graduates are satisfied with their degree, while 84% consider themselves able to put to good use the knowledge and skills learnt at the University.
“The content of the work and working environments change, but that does not necessarily have a radical impact on skills needs. For example, information retrieval skills have always been important,” says Eric Carver from the University of Helsinki’s Strategic Services for Teaching.
The job market situation varies by educational field, which is reflected in the responses. Those who have found employment that matches their educational level well are usually the most satisfied with their degree.
Problem-solving and self-direction
Career skills considered the most important by graduates from the University of Helsinki included self-direction and initiative, the ability to learn new things, problem-solving skills, information retrieval skills, communication and analytical thinking, which the respondents also felt they had learnt at the University.
“Based on the anticipation of future skills needs, these skills will also be relevant to professional life in the future,” Carver notes.
Skills required in professional life that were not sufficiently learnt included stress tolerance, cooperation skills, organisation skills, public speaking skills, project management and negotiation skills.
Different fields could perhaps adopt good practices from each other, as physicians and dentists found they had gained much more stress tolerance skills compared to law graduates, for example.
From 2021 onwards, career-monitoring surveys will also begin to have an effect on the model for distributing funds to universities. Currently, only the number of employed graduates is measured, but under the new model, the quality of employment will be introduced as another indicator. Concrete figures will be obtained from Statistics Finland, while quality will be assessed based on career-monitoring survey responses by master’s degree graduates.
Now, the impact of graduates’ employment on total funding is 2%, rising to 4% in the future.