Higher Education and Graduates’ Performance Issues

Adela García-Aracil
The role of higher education in the process of local and regional economic development has attracted considerable interest among scholars and policy makers. There is ample evidence confirming that the presence of skilled labour force contributes local economic development by fostering productivity effects via local knowledge spill overs and human capital externalities. In this context, educational programmes are designed aiming at the preparation of the high qualified young population for fulfilling responsible roles in professional life in specific and in society in general. In this paper, the focus of the analysis is thereby on the efficiency by which the programmes of the higher education systems in some European countries allocate their graduates over the various domains in the labour market and how these graduates perform in their jobs obtained. For that purpose, we consider selected characteristics of the study programme and modes of teaching in relation to graduates’ performance, as well as the changes in those factors that influence graduates’ professional success. We make use of REFLEX (Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society) data set. Our preliminary results show that the generic versus discipline-specific orientation of the educational program strongly influences the allocation graduates over different occupational domains. Moreover, educational programs with a strong relation between learning and direct working experience acquisition provide a better link to occupations inside their graduates’ discipline-specific domain.