Advertisement

A Policy Reform Aimed at Improving the Job Quality of Graduates

  • Silvia AngeloniEmail author
Original Article
  • 11 Downloads

Abstract

The research investigates the employment opportunities and outcomes for Italian graduates in business economics, after two decades from the beginning of the Bologna process. Preliminarily, the study identifies the predictors of the employment status of graduates one year after graduation. Subsequently, the job quality of the employed graduates is assessed. Both kinds of analysis evidence problems of mismatch between education and occupation, leading to bad job quality. To overcome job deterioration, the research suggests a new policy measure. According to the proposed solution, higher education institutions should be funded by governments not only for graduation rates or for employment rates of their students, but, above all, for the job quality of their employed graduates. Without such adjustments, the strategy of the Bologna process, although valuable for its purpose, will remain an incomplete reform failing to address the main question: the job quality, rather than just the quantity, of graduates.

Keywords

business economics employability graduates higher education job quality policy reform 

Notes

Acknowledgement

The author wishes to thank Dr. Silvia Ghiselli, Head of the Bureau of Statistics of the AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium, for her very helpful cooperation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.

References

  1. Adams, T.L. and Demaiter, E.I. (2008) ‘Skill, education and credentials in the new economy: the case of information technology workers’, Work, Employment and Society 22(2): 351–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agresti, A. (2002) Categorical Data Analysis, Hoboken: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Altonji, J.G., Blom, E. and Meghir, C. (2012) ‘Heterogeneity in human capital investments: High school curriculum, college major, and careers’, Annual Review of Economics 4(1): 185–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrews, J., and Higson, H. (2008) ‘Graduate employability, “soft skills” versus “hard” business knowledge: A European study’, Higher Education in Europe 33(4): 411–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ashton D.N. and Green, F. (1996) Education, Training and the Global Economy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  6. Baert, S. and Verhaest, D. (2018) ‘Work hard or play hard? Degree class, student leadership and employment opportunities’, IZA Discussion Paper Series 11971.Google Scholar
  7. Baert, S. and Verhaest, D. (2019) ‘Unemployment or overeducation: Which is a worse signal to employers?’, De Economist 167(1): 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baert, S. et al. (2019) ‘Student Internships and employment opportunities after graduation: A field experiment’, IZA Discussion Paper Series 12183.Google Scholar
  9. Baert, S., Cockx, B. and Verhaest, D. (2013) ‘Overeducation at the start of the career: Stepping stone or trap?’, Labour Economics 25: 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Baert, S., Neyt, B., Omey, E. and Verhaest, D. (2017) ‘Student work, educational achievement, and later employment: A dynamic approach’, IZA Discussion Papers Series 11127.Google Scholar
  11. Baert, S., Rotsaert, O., Verhaest, D. and Omey, E. (2016) ‘Student employment and later labour market success: No evidence for higher employment chances’, Kyklos 69(3): 401–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Beaudry, P., Green, D.A. and Sand, B.M. (2016) ‘The great reversal in the demand for skill and cognitive tasks’, Journal of Labor Economics 34(S1): S199–S247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Becker, G.S. (1964) Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, New York: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  14. Bernhardt, A. (2012) ‘The role of labor market regulation in rebuilding economic opportunity in the United States’, Work and Occupations 39(4): 354–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Borg, E. and Hooker, B. (2019) ‘Epistemic virtues versus ethical values in the financial services sector’, Journal of Business Ethics 155(1): 17–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Boudreau, J.W., Boswell, W.R., Judge, T.A. and Bretz Jr, R.D. (2001) ‘Personality and cognitive ability as predictors of job search among employed managers’, Personnel Psychology 54(1): 25–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Boyle, M.E. (2004) ‘Walking our talk: Business schools, legitimacy, and citizenship’, Business & Society 43(1): 37–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bridgstock, R. (2009) ‘The graduate attributes we’ve overlooked: Enhancing graduate employability through career management skills’, Higher Education Research & Development 28(1): 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Bruneel, J., d’Este, P. and Salter, A. (2010) ‘Investigating the factors that diminish the barriers to university–industry collaboration’, Research Policy 39(7): 858–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Brunello, G. and Cappellari, L. (2008) ‘The labour market effects of Alma Mater: Evidence from Italy’, Economics of Education Review 27(5): 564–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Brunello, G. and Checchi, D. (2005) ‘School quality and family background in Italy’, Economics of Education Review 24(5): 563–577.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Brunello, G. and Rocco, L. (2017) ‘The labor market effects of academic and vocational education over the life cycle: Evidence based on a British cohort’, Journal of Human Capital 11(1): 106–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Brunello, G., Lupi, C. and Ordine, P. (2001) ‘Widening differences in Italian regional unemployment’, Labour Economics 8(1): 103–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Brynin, M. (2002) ‘Overqualification in employment’, Work, Employment and Society 16(4): 637–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Busemeyer, M.R. and Garritzmann, J.L. (2017) ‘Academic, vocational or general? An analysis of public opinion towards education policies with evidence from a new comparative survey’, Journal of European Social Policy 27(4): 373–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cai, Y. (2017) ‘From an analytical framework for understanding the innovation process in higher education to an emerging research field of innovations in higher education’, The Review of Higher Education 40(4): 585–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Cappelli, P.H. (2015) ‘Skill gaps, skill shortages, and skill mismatches: Evidence and arguments for the United States’, ILR Review 68(2): 251–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Chatterjee, S. and Hadi, A.S. (2015) Regression Analysis by Example, Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Clark, B., Joubert, C. and Maurel, A. (2017) ‘The career prospects of overeducated Americans’, IZA Journal of Labor Economics 6(3): 1–29.Google Scholar
  30. Collins, R. (1979) The Credential Society: An Historical Sociology of Education and Stratification, New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Collins, R. (2002) ‘Credential inflation and the future of universities’, in S.G. Brint (ed.) The Future of the City of Intellect: The Changing American University, Standord: Stanford University Press, pp. 23–46.Google Scholar
  32. Correll, S.J., Kelly, E.L., O’Connor, L.T. and Williams, J.C. (2014) ‘Redesigning, redefining work’, Work and Occupations 41(1): 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Croce, G. and Ghignoni, E. (2012) ‘Demand and supply of skilled labour and overeducation in Europe: A country-level analysis’, Comparative Economic Studies 54(2): 413–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Dagnino, G.B. and Quattrone, P. (2006) ‘Comparing institutionalisms: Gino Zappa and John R. Commons’ accounts of “institution” as a groundwork for a constructivist view’, Journal of Management History 12(1): 36–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Dameron, S. and Durand, T. (eds.) (2017) The Future of Management Education: Challenges Facing Business Schools Around the World, London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  36. Deming, D.J., Yuchtman, N., Abulafi, A., Goldin, C. and Katz, L.F. (2016) ‘The value of postsecondary credentials in the labor market: An experimental study’, American Economic Review 106(3): 778–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Di Pietro, G. and Cutillo, A. (2006) ‘University quality and labour market outcomes in Italy’, Labour 20(1): 37–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Dolton, P.J. and Silles, M.A. (2008) ‘The effects of over-education on earnings in the graduate labour market’, Economics of Education Review 27(2): 125–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Esser, I. and Olsen, K. (2011) ‘Perceived job quality: Autonomy and job security within a multi-level framework’, European Sociological Review 28(4): 443–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. European Commission, EACEA and Eurydice (2018) The European Higher Education Area in 2018: Bologna Process Implementation Report, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
  41. Fairweather, J.S. (1990) ‘Education: The forgotten element in industry-university relationships’, The Review of Higher Education 14(1): 33–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Fang, X., Lee, S., Lee, T.E. and Huang, W. (2004) ‘Critical factors affecting job offers for new MIS graduates’, Journal of Information Systems Education 15(2): 189–203.Google Scholar
  43. Feng, A. and Graetz, G. (2017) ‘A question of degree: The effects of degree class on labor market outcomes’, Economics of Education Review 61: 140–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Findlay, P., Kalleberg, A.L. and Warhurst, C. (2013) ‘The challenge of job quality’, Human Relations 66(4): 441–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Findlay, P., Warhurst, C., Keep, E. and Lloyd, C. (2017) ‘Opportunity knocks? The possibilities and levers for improving job quality’, Work and Occupations 44(1): 3–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Fitzgerald, L.F. (1986) ‘On the essential relations between education and work’, Journal of Vocational Behavior 28(3): 254–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Forster, A.G., Bol, T. and Van de Werfhorst, H.G. (2016) ‘Vocational education and employment over the life cycle’, Sociological Science 3: 473–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Gangl, M. (2002) ‘Changing labour markets and early career outcomes: Labour market entry in Europe over the past decade’, Work, Employment and Society 16(1): 67–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Gardner, P., Steglitz, I. and Gross, L. (2009) ‘Translating study abroad experiences for workplace competencies’, Peer Review: 19–22.Google Scholar
  50. Garritzmann, J.L., Busemeyer, M.R. and Neimanns, E. (2018) ‘Public demand for social investment: New supporting coalitions for welfare state reform in Western Europe?’, Journal of European Public Policy 25(6): 844–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Granovetter, M.S. (1973) ‘The strength of weak ties’, American Journal of Sociology 78: 1360–1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Green, F., McIntosh, S. and Vignoles, A. (2002) ‘The utilization of education and skills: Evidence from Britain’, The Manchester School 70(6): 792–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Hampf, F. and Woessmann, L. (2017) ‘Vocational vs. general education and employment over the life cycle: New evidence from PIAAC’, CESifo Economic Studies 63(3): 255–269.Google Scholar
  54. Handley, K. (2018) ‘Anticipatory socialization and the construction of the employable graduate: A critical analysis of employers’ graduate careers websites’, Work, Employment and Society 32(2): 239–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Hanushek, E.A., Schwerdt, G., Woessmann, L. and Zhang, L. (2017) ‘General education, vocational education, and labor-market outcomes over the lifecycle’, Journal of Human Resources 52(1): 48–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Hillman, N.W., Tandberg, D.A. and Fryar, A.H. (2015) ‘Evaluating the impacts of “new” performance funding in higher education’, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 37(4): 501–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. James, S., Warhurst, C., Tholen, G. and Commander, J. (2013) ‘What we know and what we need to know about graduate skills’, Work, Employment and Society 27(6): 952–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Kalleberg, A. (2012) ‘Job quality and precarious work: Clarifications, controversies and challenges’, Work and Occupations 39(4): 427–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kalleberg, A.L., Reskin, B.F. and Hudson, K. (2000) ‘Bad jobs in America: Standard and nonstandard employment relations and job quality in the United States’, American Sociological Review 65(2): 256–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Khoo, P. and Ost, B. (2018) ‘The effect of graduating with honors on earnings’, Labour Economics 55: 149–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Knouse, S.B., Tanner, J.R. and Harris, E.W. (1999) ‘The relation of college internships, college performance, and subsequent job opportunity’, Journal of Employment Counseling 36(1): 35–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Krill, Z.E., Geva, A. and Aloni, T. (2019) ‘The effect of the field of study on the higher education wage premium—Evidence from Israel’, Labour 33(3): 388–423.Google Scholar
  63. Mason, G., Williams, G. and Cranmer, S. (2009) ‘Employability skills initiatives in higher education: What effects do they have on graduate labour market outcomes?’, Education Economics 17(1): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. McGovern, P., Smeaton, D. and Hill, S. (2004) ‘Bad jobs in Britain: Nonstandard employment and job quality’, Work and Occupations 31(2): 225–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Meroni, E.C. and Vera-Toscano, E. (2017) ‘The persistence of overeducation among recent graduates’, Labour Economics 48: 120–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Messelink, H.E., Van Maele, J. and Spencer-Oatey, H. (2015) ‘Intercultural competencies: What students in study and placement mobility should be learning’, Intercultural Education 26(1): 62–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Mills, L.H., Deviney, D. and Ball, B. (2010) ‘Short-term study abroad programs: A diversity of options’, The Journal of Human Resource and Adult Learning 6(2): 1–13.Google Scholar
  68. Moreau, M.P. and Leathwood, C. (2006) ‘Balancing paid work and studies: Working (-class) students in higher education’, Studies in Higher Education 31(1): 23–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Naylor, R., Smith, J. and Telhaj, S. (2016) ‘Graduate returns, degree class premia and higher education expansion in the UK’, Oxford Economic Papers 68(2): 525–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Nordin, M., Persson, I. and Rooth, D.O. (2010) ‘Education–occupation mismatch: Is there an income penalty?’, Economics of Education Review 29(6): 1047–1059.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. OECD (2019) OECD Employment Outlook 2019: The Future of Work, Paris: OECD Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Okay-Somerville, B. and Scholarios, S. (2013) ‘Shades of grey: Understanding job quality in emerging graduate occupations’, Human Relations 66(4): 555–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ortiz, L. (2010) ‘Not the right job, but a secure one: Over-education and temporary employment in France, Italy and Spain’, Work, Employment and Society 24(1): 47–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Pinto, L.H. and Ramalheira, D.C. (2017) ‘Perceived employability of business graduates: The effect of academic performance and extracurricular activities’, Journal of Vocational Behavior 99: 165–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pocock, B. and Charlesworth, S. (2017) ‘Multilevel work–family interventions: Creating good-quality employment over the life course’, Work and Occupations 44(1): 23–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Quintano, C., Castellano, R. and D’Agostino, A. (2008) ‘Graduates in economics and educational mismatch: The case study of the University of Naples “Parthenope”’, Journal of Education and Work 21(3): 249–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Robst, J. (2007) ‘Education and job match: The relatedness of college major and work’, Economics of Education Review 26(4): 397–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rynes, S.L., Trank, C.Q., Lawson, A.M. and Ilies, R. (2003) ‘Behavioral coursework in business education: Growing evidence of a legitimacy crisis’, Academy of Management Learning & Education 2(3): 269–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sengupta, S., Edwards, P. and Tsai, C.J. (2009) ‘The good, the bad, and the ordinary: Work identities in “good” and “bad” jobs in the United Kingdom’, Work and Occupations 36(1): 26–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Siedler, T., Saniter, N. and Schumann, M. (2016) ‘Door opener or waste of time? The effects of student internships on labor market outcomes’, Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2016.Google Scholar
  81. Silva, P., Lopes, B., Costa, M., Seabra, D., Melo, A.I., Brito, E. and Dias, G.P. (2016) ‘Stairway to employment? Internships in higher education’, Higher Education 72(6): 703–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Simms, M. (2017) ‘Unions and job quality in the UK: Extending interest representation within regulation institutions’, Work and Occupations 44(1): 47–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Smeenk, S., Teelken, C., Eisinga, R. and Doorewaard, H. (2009) ‘Managerialism, organizational commitment, and quality of job performances among European university employees’, Research in Higher Education 50(6): 589–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Smith, J., McKnight, A. and Naylor, R. (2000) ‘Graduate employability: Policy and performance in higher education in the UK’, The Economic Journal 110(464): 382–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Sortheix, F.M., Dietrich, J., Chow, A. and Salmela-Aro, K. (2013) ‘The role of career values for work engagement during the transition to working life’, Journal of Vocational Behavior 83(3): 466–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Spence, A.M. (1973) ‘Job market signaling’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 87(3): 355–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Stohl, M. (2007) ‘We have met the enemy and he is us: The role of the faculty in the internationalization of higher education in the coming decade’, Journal of Studies in International Education 11(3-4): 359–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Sweetland, S.R. (1996) ‘Human capital theory: Foundations of a field of inquiry’, Review of Educational Research 66(3): 341–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Tomlinson, M. (2008) ‘“The degree is not enough”: Students’ perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and employability’, British Journal of Sociology of Education 29(1): 49–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Tomlinson, M. (2012) ‘Graduate employability: A review of conceptual and empirical themes’, Higher Education Policy 25(4): 407–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Vallas, S. and Prener, C. (2012) ‘Dualism, job polarization and the social construction of precarious work’, Work and Occupations 39(4): 331–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Van Belle, E. et al. (2019) ‘What do student jobs on graduate CVs signal to employers?’, IZA Discussion Paper Series 12431.Google Scholar
  93. Verhaest, D. and Baert, S. (2018) ‘The early labour market effects of vocational higher education: Is there a trade-off?’, Empirical Economics 55(3): 1229–1270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Verhaest, D., Bogaert, E., Dereymaeker, J., Mestdagh, L. and Baert, S. (2018) ‘Do employers prefer overqualified graduates? A field experiment’, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society 57(3): 361–388.Google Scholar
  95. Verhaest, D., Sellami, S. and Van der Velden, R. (2017) ‘Differences in horizontal and vertical mismatches across countries and fields of study’, International Labour Review 156(1): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Warhurst, C. and Thompson, P. (2006) ‘Mapping knowledge in work: Proxies or practices?’, Work, Employment and Society 20(4): 787–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Weiss, F., Klein, M. and Grauenhorst, T. (2014) ‘The effects of work experience during higher education on labour market entry: Learning by doing or an entry ticket?’, Work, Employment and Society 28(5): 788–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Weststar, J. (2009) ‘Worker control as a facilitator in the match between education and jobs’, British Journal of Industrial Relations 47(4): 723–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. White, R.J. and Green, A.E. (2015) ‘The importance of socio-spatial influences in shaping young people’s employment aspirations: Case study evidence from three British cities’, Work, Employment and Society 29(2): 295–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Wilton, N. (2008) ‘Business graduates and management jobs: An employability match made in heaven?’, Journal of Education and Work 21(2): 143–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Xu, D. and Trimble, M. (2016) ‘What about certificates? Evidence on the labor market returns to nondegree community college awards in two states’, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 38(2): 272–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Zambon, S. (1996) ‘Accounting and business economics traditions: A missing European connection?’, European Accounting Review 5(3): 401–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MoliseCampobassoItaly

Personalised recommendations