Higher education jobs in Europe

degreesThe unemployment rate in the EU reached a record high of 10.7% in November 2012, according to figures published earlier this week by . Youth unemployment, in particular, has been consistently gloomy since the beginning of the crisis, with almost 1 in 4 young people in the European Union now out of work.

Youth unemployment was highest in Greece (57.6%) and Spain (56.5%), and last year we had a comment sent in from a young Spanish jobseeker, , who told a depressing (but perhaps all too common) story:

My personal experience is that I could not find a job so I continued to study. Now, I had a job interview two days ago and I was told that my CV is ‘intimidating’, and that I know ‘too much’. So with studies or without studies, we are screwed…

We decided to put this comment to Santiago Fisas Ayxela, an MEP with the centre-right European People’s Party group, to see how he would respond to Javier:

It’s true, there is a huge problem. We have a generation with very, very high-levels of studies, and it’s always very frustrating for these young people to have studied for so long and to be so well prepared, and then not to have a job, or to have a job that doesn’t correspond to their expectations and the studies they have developed. But I would say to Javier to be confident. We are in a very tough situation in Europe with this crisis, especially in Spain, but I really believe that European governments and the EU Commission are taking the right decisions.

We also had the opportunity to put Javier’s comment to Mady Delvaux-Stehres, Luxembourg’s Minister for National Education and Professional Training (it’s worth pointing out that Luxembourg has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, at only 5.1%). How would she respond?

In fact, eurostat figures suggest that higher education does pay off for young people. Unemployment rates tend to decrease as levels of educational attainment increase, and graduates that have completed tertiary education take, on average, half as long to find a relevant job as those with only a primary or lower secondary education.

Is there a problem, though, with the types of courses that Europeans are choosing to study?, for example, asks whether we should be encouraging more young people to study science, engineering and other so-called “hard subjects”, instead of humanities and (his personal pet-peeve) business management studies:

When encouraging people to stay in higher education, we have to ask, is there any need for [so many business management degree holders] when we are not attracting enough people into sciences to fulfill the needs of society? The sheer number of business management degree holders (and similar) makes that degree completely useless – I know as one of two degrees I hold is business management. The other is civil engineering and has been much more use in life.

Higher education systems in European

Higher education in Western Europe

Higher education in US VS Europe