The Professional Work of Graduates

  • Harald Schomburg
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 35)


The vast majority of higher education graduates approached in the REFLEX survey are working as managers or professionals according to the ISCO classification of their job title. However, the stereotypical image of the “classical professions” does not describe the situation of most graduates. The typical characteristics attributed to those working in such professions, such as independent client-professional relationships, and exclusivity of one’s own field of study, only apply to a minority of graduates, and even the work of many “classical professionals” is monitored by their supervisors. Consequently, one of the main conclusions of this chapter is that the professional work of higher education graduates is characterized by a high degree of differentiation. To explore this differentiation, a typology of professional types was developed in which managers, semi-professionals, science and technology experts, business and social science experts and non-professionals are distinguished in addition to the - relatively small - group of classical professionals. Using this typology, we explored differences between groups of graduates according to the three key concepts of knowledge, organizsation and power. Although a majority of graduates in all groups, even the non-professionals, were working in jobs that showed some relation to their field of study, real exclusivity of knowledge turned out to be only dominant among the group of classical professionals, and to a lesser extent the semi-professionals.


Professional Role Professional Expertise Technology Expert Work Autonomy Classical Professional 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel)University of KasselKasselGermany

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