Good work prospects but pay variable

Nine out of 10 French masters level graduates have found jobs two-and-a-half years after completing their higher education. But their pay rates vary depending on their studies, according to the fifth annual report on graduate employment compiled by the ministry of higher education.

The report of a study of graduate outcomes recorded the employment situation of about 100,000 young people 30 months after they had left university in 2011.

The study tracked the position of graduates with three kinds of university qualification: a diplôme universitaire de technologie, or DUT, a two-year technical diploma; licence professionnelle, a three-year vocational degree; and the five-year masters degree.

The situation of students studying for the general three-year licence was not recorded because most of them continued their studies after obtaining the bachelor-equivalent degree.

The 90% employment rate of masters graduates was unchanged since the previous inquiry, while the rates for licences professionnelles and DUT were each a percentage point higher than last year, at 92% and 88% respectively.

Most jobs for masters graduates were stable, full-time and at an executive level. Within the masters category, however, there were some disparities, with 91% of law, economics and management graduates in employment; 90% of graduates in sciences, technologies and health studies; 88% of those with human and social sciences degrees; and 87% of those who had studied literature, languages and humanities.

There were also differences between pay levels, with graduates of law-economics-management and sciences-technologies-health studies earning a median annual salary of €31,200 (US$36,100), compared with graduates of human and social sciences and those of literature, languages and humanities whose median earnings were €26,500 (US$30, 700).

The highest paid – with a median annual salary of €39,700 (€2,540 monthly) were graduates from the University of Paris-2 Panthéon-Assas – and the lowest, €22,700 (€1,460 monthly), were from Rennes-2 University.

The overall percentage of women masters graduates was 59%, ranging from 81% in the literature-languages-humanities category, through 73% in human and social sciences, 59% in law-economics-management, to 41% in sciences-technologies-health.

“In masters, as in previous years, graduates in the categories law-economics-management and sciences-technologies-health studies, who represent three-quarters of the total, enjoy recruitment conditions clearly more favourable than those in human-social sciences and literature-languages-humanities, both in entering the workforce and in quality of posts and level of salary,” the report says.

Geneviève Fioraso, State Secretary for Higher Education and Research, said the results were proof of the quality of French university education which was chosen by 95% of the 300,000 foreign students who chose to study in France.