Unemployment among vocational graduates falls to pre-crisis levels
Universities of Applied Sciences (HBO) graduates) performed even better in 2017 than in 2016. Unemployment among graduates has fallen for the fourth consecutive year, from 4.6% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2017. Unemployment is thereby back to about the same level as in 2008, before the economic crisis. The education and healthcare sectors are doing particularly well, whereas graduates of arts and economics programmes are relatively less likely to have jobs within their own field. These results are presented in the HBO Monitor 2017, an annual survey conducted by the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) at Maastricht University.
Work and education
More than three out of four HBO fulltime graduates (78%) have jobs in their own field, slightly more than in 2016 (77%). Nine out of ten graduates from the education and healthcare sectors have jobs in their own or a related field. If you majored in an agro- or food-related discipline, you’ll spend longer than your peers looking for a job; but even then, you’ll usually find work within three months (84%). The proportion of full-time graduates who find a job at HBO level or higher is 80%, the same percentage as in 2016.
Working hours and contracts
Recent HBO graduates work an average of 34 hours per week. 38% of all workers are employed on a part-time basis, and half have permanent contracts, a slight increase from 2016. Permanent contracts are most common among full-time graduates in the science and technology sector (52%). HBO graduates in social studies are least likely to have permanent contracts (33%), but this figure has risen compared to 2016 (28%).
The average monthly wage for all graduates has increased compared to 2016. The largest increase is among graduates in social studies, who nonetheless remain the lowest paid group on average in terms of monthly income. Graduates in science and technology still have the highest monthly wage of all sectors, despite showing the smallest increase in 2017. Taking into account the (average) number of hours worked, the gross hourly wage is the highest for healthcare graduates, at €16.20. The gross hourly wage of graduates in education studies was virtually unchanged: €14.80 in 2016 and €15.00 in 2017. Science and technology graduates now earn slightly more, at €15.30 per hour.
The HBO Monitor 2017 focuses on the labour market position of HBO graduates from the academic year 2015/16. In late 2017, around 18 months after completing their study programmes, almost 24,500 of the graduates approached filled in the HBO Monitor survey, a response rate of more than 40%. The participating graduates all followed an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree.