A degree could be one of the best insurance policies against joblessness, according to a study released on Wednesday by the German Higher Education Information System (HIS) and seen in advance by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The study, completed for the German Education Ministry, followed around 5,000 graduates of 2001, asking them about their employment status at three regular intervals over the past 12 years.
In the latest round, just eleven percent of the former students were out of work – most of whom described themselves as “housewives” or “househusbands” or were engaged in further study.
An impressive 41 percent of the graduates had already been appointed to at least one leadership role. Job security was also not an issue, with three quarters of graduates on permanent contracts and those in full time jobs raking in an average of €63,000 a year. Fifteen percent said they were self-employed.
The vast majority of graduates seemed happy – with 85 percent satisfied with the work content and 75 percent with their position. Only three percent of those asked had found themselves long-term in a job which didn't correspond to their academic level.
“Despite intermittent economic crises the chances for university graduates are very good in the long term,” study leader Kolja Briedis from HIS said in a press statement on Wednesday.
However there are some disadvantages associated with doing a degree, the study found.
First graduates often went through some difficult years of professional instability just after the final exams. Just a third of graduates slid seamlessly into a full time permanent contract after graduating.
Secondly, studying – which in German universities can often last until the student is in their late 20s - could mean having to delay starting a family.
Forty percent of the study participants – whose average age is now 37 - had not had children, with seven percent saying they already had kids when they graduated.