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Unemployment among UM graduates drops, but not for all

MAASTRICHT. Things are looking up for graduates of this university: unemployment among them is dropping steadily, although Psychology and especially Law graduates are lagging behind considerably. The latter faculty is surprised at the results.  

Not all institutes are represented in the figures from the Nationale Alumni Enquête for 2016, (2016 National Alumni Survey). For that year, the UM can only be compared to five other universities: the ones in Rotterdam, Tilburg, Groningen, Nijmegen, and Wageningen. The last one stands out in a negative sense. In 2015, unemployment among graduates from master's programmes in Wageningen exceeded nine per cent, in 2016 it is still above eight per cent. The UM, with 6.9 per cent in 2015 and 6.6 in 2016, respectively, scores slightly above average among the six universities, which was 5.8 last year.

This does not mean that every UM faculty performs equally well, on the contrary almost. The majority is well under six per cent, while Law and Psychology show high, and even increasing, unemployment figures of above 14 per cent (14.6 for Law). In 2015, both stood at 10.3 per cent.

Those figures have been further analysed within the UM. The analysis did not yield new insights for Psychology, but it did for the law faculty. For them, the poor employment opportunities appear to come in particular from the Dutch programmes. Almost one in five master’s graduates (19.4 per cent) did not have a job last year. The programmes in English score much better, with an average of 6.9 per cent.

The Faculty of Law was slightly surprised about these new high unemployment rates; in the previous year, the figures were much lower, says director Marlies van Dongen: “We will look into that.”

During the discussion of the figures in the University Council's strategic committee last week, President of the Executive Board, Martin Paul, raised questions concerning the statistical value of the figures. His doubts were based on the fact that only one in four of the recent alumni participated in the survey. He also pointed out that the UM's weaker score compared to sister institutes, could be explained by the large number of foreign students studying here: “Unemployment rates are higher in the south of Europe, and those alumni are also included in this survey.”

Paul emphasised that new and more reliable unemployment figures from the UM’s own ROA institute (Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market) will most likely be published by the summer.

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