Talk by Trine Louise Brøndt Nielsen – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Talk by Trine Louise Brøndt Nielsen

Talk by: Trine Louise Brøndt Nielsen

Employers call for graduates to be more oriented towards the labour market, and to have a sense of the applicability of their competencies. Existing reports on graduate transition from higher education to the labour market show that graduates experience challenges in the meeting with the first job, in the form of missing competencies, lack of academic coherence, and unfamiliar work methods.

But as these reports are surveys of graduate satisfaction they leave questions unanswered in regard to which factors influence the graduates' experiences of the transition process. The literature on this subject is very limited, which means that there is a urgent call for research on the subject. This study will try to fill in the gap by making a broad, exploratory study aiming to obtain insight on the factors that may influence the graduates' transition experience.

Graduates from the Master's programme in physics from the past five years (2007-2013) were selected for the study. The graduates were invited to participate in an extensive questionnaire survey, containing both quantitative and qualitative questions regarding the graduates' strategies during the programme, their approach to future employment, their experience of the meeting with their first job, and with their current job. The results of the survey has provided information about where the graduates were employed and the content of their jobs, as well as an insight into the their experiences of the transition to the labour market. The results imply that overall the respondents experienced that they were well prepared for the labour market. But the results also imply that some graduates faced more challenges than others and that, in general, the graduates experienced challenges in regard to applying their competencies in other contexts than the field of physics. Looking at the results in the light of the employability concept, the results suggest that both the education and the students could benefit from incorporating employability into the programme in some way.

This study is one of the first steps in the research on graduate transition to the labour market and the results invite to further studies on the subject in order to get a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that are at play.

Danish resume of the thesis:
Forskning om kandidaters overgang fra universitet til arbejdsmarked er begrænset. Eksisterende rapporter på området tyder på at der er en række udfordringer i mødet med arbejdsmarkedet. Men disse rapporter er i høj grad tilfredshedsundersøgelser og efterlader derfor en række ubesvarede spørgsmål i forhold til hvilke faktorer der påvirker kandidaternes oplevelse af overgangen til arbejdsmarkedet.

Dette speciale havde til formål at opnå en større forståelse af hvilke mekanismer der er på spil i overgangen til arbejdsmarkedet. Nyuddannede kandidater fra kandidatuddannelsen i fysik fra Københavns Universitet blev inviteret til at deltage i en omfattende spørgeskemaundersøgelse. Spørgeskemaet indeholdt både kvalitative og kvantitative spørgsmål som omhandlede kandidaternes strategier under uddannelsen, deres forberedelse til arbejdsmarkedet, mødet med arbejdsmarkedet i form af deres første job, samt indholdet og oplevelsen af deres nuværende job.

Resultaterne af undersøgelsen har givet et bredt indblik i hvordan kandidaterne oplevede overgangen til arbejdsmarkedet, og hvilke faktorer der spillede ind på deres oplevelse. Undersøgelsen viste at  kandidaterne overordnet oplevede at de var godt forberedt til arbejdsmarkedet. Men resultaterne viste også at nogle kandidater oplevede flere udfordringer end andre, og at kandidaterne generelt oplevede udfordringer i forhold til at skulle anvende deres kompetencer indenfor andre områder end fysik.

Dette studie er et af de første skridt i forskningen om overgangen til arbejdsmarkedet. Resultaterne lægger op til diskussion samt yderligere undersøgelser for at opnå en dybere forståelse af de mekanismer, der er på spil i overgangen.