Are graduates well-equipped for the labour market?

Adela García-Aracil
This paper attempts to develop insights into comparative evaluations of quality determinants for education services provided by higher education (HE) institutions as they are perceived by their graduates in some European countries. Quality in HE, as well as defining a way to measure it, is not a simple issue and there is no commonly accepted definition. Therefore, we based on student’s opinions of their academic courses. Customer satisfaction generally is a function of the consumer’s satisfaction with the different components comprising the service being provided. Understanding the complexity of the learning experience requires more than knowing the level of satisfaction of the students; it also demands an appreciation of the factors that contribute to student satisfaction. Measuring student satisfaction would help HE institutions to identify both their strengths and the areas that require improvement. For that purpose, we use the REFLEX (Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society) data set, which allow the comparison among 14 European countries. We start with a brief description of some key characteristics of their study programme, modes of teaching and learning and the study behaviour and motivations reported by graduates. Our preliminary results suggest that demonstrating a relation between programme characteristics and modes of teaching on the one hand, and the level of competencies on the other hand does not necessarily mean that HE provides a sufficient basis to enter the labour market, nor does it necessarily indicate a sufficient basis for the later career.