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What do they do now? The situation of ÅAU alumni in the labour market

Finnish higher education institutions conduct an annual career follow-up survey. The survey is aimed at those who graduated five years ago to get their feedback on their education and how it has benefited them in working life. At the same time, it asks about the jobs and income of graduates and how well their work experience corresponds to their studies.

This year’s surveys will open on 2 October. All 2018 graduates will receive a notification by text message, email or post. The message contains a link to the Arvo survey tool, starting with arvovastaus.csc.fi. Each link is personal, but the answers are treated anonymously.

But why these surveys, and why is it important to answer them?

The survey responses provide a solid basis for universities to develop their activities and teaching. The alumni’s experience of how education and the demands of working life meet each other is valuable information for the entire organisation when drawing up course and education plans.

“Another reason is that every single survey response is money for the universities. Of the financing that the Ministry of Education and Culture allocates to universities, 36 million euros is tied to the number and type of responses that these surveys generate,” says Matias Erlund, coordinator at Career Services.

The exact figure varies from year to year, depending on how well Åbo Akademi University and the other universities perform in the competition for the most and best responses. The ministry aims to reward universities for positive feedback on the labour market relevance of their degrees. On average, each individual survey response in 2018-2020 was worth about €5,400 to Åbo Akademi University.

New way of working with the results this year

The faculties have requested the opportunity to go into depth on their own results, so this year Arbetsforum has built an interactive statistical report that will be published on Åbo Akademi University’s intranet. For the public, the data is available on the statistical service Vipunen, more about it further down. These presentations of the results contain only the figures, while the open comments have been compiled per field of study and sent directly to the faculties.

“The results do not vary much from year to year, so instead of compiling a general report, this time we built an internal ÅA report that the units can use to see and analyse their own results,” says Erlund.

The programme matches with working life

Whether it is working life that corresponds to higher education studies or vice versa is for someone else to discuss. However, an overwhelming majority (79%) of graduates from five years ago feel both that the level of requirements in the workplace corresponds to their education and that the workplace offers opportunities to utilise knowledge and skills from their studies.

The corresponding figures for those who graduated one year ago are slightly lower.

Degree leads to employment

Surveys in recent years show that just under a third (29-37%) of graduates have been unemployed at some point after graduation. Or conversely, the majority of graduates have not experienced any period of unemployment at all. Five years after graduation, the unemployment rate is low, ranging between 0 and 3 per cent.

“This is a good figure that shows that our alumni are in demand in the labour market. In some sectors, there may be difficulties at the beginning, but after a few years, most have found their place. Our results are also in good agreement with those of Statistics Finland, which are based on official registers. This confirms that our surveys are reliable and that it is not only the satisfied who take the time to respond,” says Erlund.

The nature of the working relationship varies. The majority (2017 graduates, 2022 situation: 70%) say they are permanent full-time employees, while a much smaller proportion (11%) are full-time temporary employees. Some (6%) are also on family leave (congratulations!).

All data is available

If you want to learn more about the amount of data that the survey has accumulated over the years, visit Vipunen, the statistical service of the education administration. You can find all the figures on the “Career monitoring” page. Some working knowledge of Finnish or Swedish is required.

On that page, under the heading “Visualizations”, you will find links to the results of the survey for masters and doctors. The presentation views may make you feel like you’re in over your head at first, but by filtering and choosing which bars and graphs to display, you should eventually get to grips with the tool.

The data in Vipunen is national and goes back to the 2017 survey. It is therefore possible, for example, to compare Åbo Akademi University’s alumni with the national averages, or with one or more other Finnish universities.