Unemployment among graduates in Germany one year after leaving their institution is at 4% and below, compared with a seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate of 5.9%, according to a survey by HIS-HF, a higher education statistics agency.
While 4% of graduates with the traditional diplom, magister or staatsexamen from a university or fachhochschule (university of applied science) are still without a job after one year, graduates with one of the new bachelor degrees appear to be doing even better, with a 2% unemployment rate for university and 3% for fachhochschul graduates.
The survey was carried out across Germany among more than 10,000 graduates from the examination cohort of 2009.
Annette Schavan, the education minister, said: "Job prospects for higher education graduates are good. And they are going to get even better because of the lack of skilled labour."
The share of those taking up jobs below their qualification level is low, too, at just 3% of fachhochschul and 5% of university graduates.
Kolja Briedis, who headed the survey project, said: "This means that compared with the cohort interviewed five years previously, in 2005, entering a profession appears to be working even better."
In the period under review, pre-tax annual salaries for full-time employees appear to have risen substantially, as well. Average annual income for job-starters had been at around EUR33,000 (US$45,400), but was at EUR37,250 for fachhochschul graduates and EUR37,500 for university graduates in 2009.
There were significant salary differentials, though, with medicine graduates topping the list at just under EUR50,000 and graduates in the humanities bringing up the rear, with EUR27,000.
One year after graduating, 77% of university bachelors and 53% of fachhochschul bachelors took up a further university course, usually a masters, with around 90% of them being able to study at an institution of their choice.
Most bachelor graduates who were interviewed said they wished to go on studying because they were personally motivated to do so, and not because they were worried about being unemployed.
Most of the bachelor graduates who did not go on to a further university course were successful with entering a profession, and just 7% of fachhochschul graduates were working in positions below their qualification level one year after graduating. At an average of EUR33,650, income for job-starters in this group was around 10% lower than among fachhochschul graduates with a diplom.
At universities, starters in economics with a bachelor degree were earning EUR33,000 on average, and those with a diplom EUR37,000.
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