7 May 2019 • Arie Verhoef
Results from the HBO-Monitor 2018
The yearly publication of the HBO-Monitor always provides a wealth of information. This information is very useful to all universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. The results provide insight into the labour market position of graduates and the level of satisfaction with the degree programmes. The 2018 edition was recently published. What does the report say about the graduates? What does it reveal about their degree programmes? And what does it say about the university of Applied Sciences where they spend four years of their studies? The first impression.
The outcome of the HBO-Monitor is interesting to all those involved in universities of Applied Sciences. Starting with future students. The monitor offers insight into employment perspectives for each degree programme. This may determine the study choice of future students. Universities of Applied Sciences use the monitor to obtain policy information. How do students reflect on their study? How does their degree programme align with the current labour market?
One of the conclusions from the 2018 HBO-Monitor is that universities of Applied Sciences successfully prepare their students for the labour market. The overwhelming majority (over 90 percent) of students who graduated in 2016-2017 were able to find a job at their degree level within three months. And 81 percent also managed to find a job within their specialisation or field (compared to 78 percent in 2017). When it comes to alignment between the degree programme and employment, 76% percent of fulltime graduates are satisfied (compared to 75% in 2017).
On the right track
These are excellent results. Especially because professions and functions are changing so fast these days. That places a high demand on education programmes and their innovation. It underlines the need for an ongoing alignment process between degree programmes and the private sector. The percentages above indicate that when it comes to this alignment, universities of applied sciences are still on the right track.
Quality of employment
Compared to 2017, there was a slight decrease in economic growth in 2018. That explains perhaps why unemployment among graduates increased slightly for the first time in five years (from 3.2 to 3.6 percent). However, students are able to find their first job faster. For some of the graduates the first job is only a temporary one. This is probably explained by the fact that they are looking for a quality job. In some aspects, employment quality improved slightly. Graduates are more often employed at the level of their degree than in 2017 (81 percent versus 80 percent in 2017), they are earning more per hour, and more graduates have a permanent contract.
The permanent contract is noteworthy. Especially when we look at this in the context of all the developments around increasing flexibility within the labour market. The 2018 HBO-Monitor reveals quite a different scenario. Within a year and a half of graduating, 56% of graduates have a permanent contract. On the other hand this is not that unusual. The results of 2018 reveal, in fact, a continuing trend that has began earlier among both full-time and part-time graduates.
It’s important to underline a few key aspects. The education sector has the highest level of job security and satisfaction. An impressive 95% of full-time graduates from teaching degree programmes find work within three months. In 2018, 79% of teacher graduates expressed their satisfaction with work (versus 74% in 2017.)
Social studies graduates are seeing an increase in job quality. 44% of social studies graduates have a permanent position (33 percent in 2017). And 66% have a job at the level of a university of Applied Sciences degree (compared to 62% in 2017). The average hourly wage in this sector has also increased by several euros compared to 2017.
The Hague University of Applied Sciences
For THUAS, the study didn’t reveal significant differences from other universities of Applied Sciences. The position of THUAS is very similar to that of last year. In some areas THUAS obtained a slightly lower score compared to last year and compared to the benchmark. This is mostly in the area of student satisfaction and less so in labour market position. It’s possible that the earlier observed drop in the National Student Survey will now be reflected in a decreased score in the HBO-Monitor.
This year, for the second time, the HBO-Monitor included a number of institution-specific questions based on the WIN themes. The results revealed that students are the most positive about global citizenship. Global citizenship has the highest scores of all items in the HBO-Monitor. Internationalisation showed an increase, and in particular the items ‘I gained international experience by studying with international students at THUAS’ and ‘in my degree programme I was able to improve my English or another foreign language’ increased significantly. The results of the theme ‘Networking university of Applied Sciences’ were comparable to last year.
Around 90% of all Dutch universities of Applied Sciences participate in the HBO-Monitor. The Research Centre for Education and Labour Market (ROA) of Maastricht University – who conducts the study – does a yearly survey of all graduates of these universities of applied sciences a year and a half after they graduate. Around 36% of contacted graduates completed the 2018 survey, representing more than 20,000 graduates.