Has the Bologna reform enhanced the employability of graduates? Early evidence from Slovenia
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the school-to-work transition of graduates in different fields of study, as well as to study programmes in three subsequent generations of graduates in the 2007 to 2009 period. The paper focuses on graduates from the new Bologna-harmonised programmes and investigates their early career outcomes by comparing them to those of graduates from pre-harmonised programmes. Design/methodology/approach - The authors apply a probit regression to calculate differences in the probability of employment for different fields of study and propensity score matching to investigate the effect of different study programmes in each field of education on early career outcomes, such as being employed within the first three months of graduation and the first nine months of graduation. Findings - The authors find that graduating from a particular field of study affects the probability of employment in all three years. In general, regardless of the field, the authors observe decreasing probabilities of employment in 2008 and 2009. Using propensity score matching, the authors estimate the effect of the new Bologna-harmonised programmes on the probability of employment and find a statistically significant negative effect compared to counterparts who finished pre-Bologna programmes. The findings are robust to the use of different matching criteria. Practical implications - In the institutional framework of a tuition-free system in higher education and collective bargaining in the labour market, performance indicators such as employability can provide relevant information regarding student choice and a proxy measure for the quality of higher education in each participating university. In addition, this provides a rare insight into the employability of graduates from Bologna-harmonised programmes, as well as for a post-transition country such as Slovenia. Originality/value - By covering entire populations of full-time graduates in 2007, 2008 and 2009 who entered the labour market for the first time after graduation, the authors calculate the probability of employment within the first three and nine months of graduation. This allows the authors to infer about the effect of the new Bologna-harmonised programmes as well as the impact of the recent financial crisis. The paper offers rare evidence of the school-to-work transition in a post-transition and tuition-free country.
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Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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