employment in the Greek labour market
Kyriakidou, Leeds Business School, United Kingdom
is a widespread assumption across Europe that investment in education is
of vital importance. According to many, it can enhance economic performance
at an individual, organisational and societal level as well as achieve
Little research has examined the ways that national context/culture impacts
upon graduate expectations, decisions and career trajectories. A unique
aspect of this study lays in its attempt to directly examine graduates’
perceptions of their studies and graduate career trajectories though a
country specific case. In this regard, the contribution of this study is
to explore the linkages between higher education and employment and therefore,
investigate the actual value of the degree studies within the Greek labour
The analysis examines the career trajectories of Greek graduates from the
disciplines of nursing and public administration & political science
(PSc & PA). Its empirical base draws from a graduate questionnaire
survey, and semi-structured interviews with graduates, course directors,
HE careers advisers, and recruitment consultants.
The study undertakes a multi-level analysis in order to assess the subtle
interactions between higher education structure and policies, organisations’
recruitment strategies, and the country’s culture and tradition. In this
regard, the study highlights the importance of socio-economic influences
on students’ degree choice and their career activities after graduation.
The focal points are: the factors influencing graduates decision to study;
decision making after the completion of their degree studies; value of
their degree in the labour market; career progression and barriers to progression.
The study highlighted main differences between the experiences of nursing
and PSc & PA graduates. In general terms key findings revealed the
difficulties respondent graduates have experienced in finding desirable
jobs. It could be argued that, in many respects, the Greek labour market
structure is relatively unconducive (and perhaps non-responsive) to graduate
employment. There are still weak links between academic establishments
and the operation of the labour market in Greece, as most small and family-owned
Greek businesses are unable to absorb the increasing number of graduates.
Evidence from this study, also showed that there are doubts about whether
the skills graduates acquired on HE programmes are those that employers
required or were prepared to pay for.
the main issue that emerged from our findings was that, graduates’ employment
opportunities did not only depend on the nature of their degree studies
per se, but also on the extent to which the Greek labour market was able
to absorb them.
This study challenges the assumptions, so dominant in the European educational
policy discourse, concerning the supposed merits of expanding higher education.
presented at the 6th international conference on HRD research and practice
across Europe: Human resource development - addressing the value. Leeds
25-27 May 2005. (Abstract; full paper incl. in CD-ROM).