Fifty-six per cent of pre-university students would choose to develop their professional careers in Spain, a 20% increase compared to four years ago
- A combination of theoretical and practical training is the key factor to finding their dream job for close to 70% of future graduates
- The preference for a private university has increased by 10 points since 2016. One out of every ten students would like to study at an American institution.
Confidence continues to grow in Spain’s labour market. The percentage of Spanish pre-university students who would opt to work in the country within ten years has grown by nearly 20% over the last four years. In 2014, just one in four future graduates believed Spain was the ideal location for work; however, 56% would choose this option now. This is one of the findings of the survey “Where and How Do Spain’s Future University Students See Themselves Working in 2028?” carried out by Schiller International University (SIU), a study that analyses Spanish Baccalaureate students’ perceptions of topics such as the public and private university systems, employability and the labour market, knowledge of languages, and preparation for their university life.
Although the Spanish market is attracting more and more pre-university students, 44% see themselves working outside Spain’s borders. Specifically, respondents’ second area in terms of preference is North America: 13% of future graduates would choose countries such as the United States or Canada for their professional development. For its part, Europe also continues to attract the attention of students. Despite events such as Brexit, the United Kingdom continues to be the preferred European market for 13% of respondents. This is followed by Germany with 7%: although still among the favourite countries, this shows a significant fall with respect to 2016, when it represented the market of choice for 32% of pre-university students.
Keys to finding that dream job according to university entrants
When it comes to prioritising the key factors for finding work, 69% of Spanish pre-university students consider that the most important factor is receiving a university education that includes practical knowledge. In line with the results collected in previous editions of the survey, practical education is still seen as the differential element in the search for the dream job for future graduates.
In relation to other aspects highly valued for finding the dream job, internationalisation has taken on importance for the students surveyed: for 45% it is essential to have a good command of languages, with English as a minimum, as well as an open mind towards working both in Spain and internationally (40%). Very few respondents considered that it was important to have good contacts when it comes to getting dream employment (22%).
Preference for a private university increases by 10%
According to the SIU survey, 70% of the high school students surveyed want to study at a public university, compared to 21% that would prefer to study in a private institution. When compared to the 2016 survey, the data show an increase in the preference for private institutions; specifically, this option has seen an increase in 10 points over the last two years (then it stood at 11%). The preference for American universities has also increased slightly: almost one in ten students would opt for this educational model.
For its part, the preference for public university has fallen by 12 points with respect to 2016, and is now placed at a similar level to that collected by the 2014 SIU survey, which placed this option as a favourite for 68% of pre-university students.
From a geographical point of view, the majority of respondents would opt for a university located in Spain: 65% of pre-university students would opt to study within our borders. In the case of those who choose an American university, however, the preference is for going abroad.
A focus on practical topics, the attention of teachers and facilities are among the highest rated aspects of private universities
The trend in the preference for private higher education may have its origin in the better evaluation of some of its attributes when compared to public universities. Specifically, 84% of respondents name facilities as a key factor, as well as the fact that private universities tend to focus on practical knowledge and work with smaller groups of students.
More than 70% also think that private institutions offer more customised courses and that teachers are more engaged and provide more attention. Similarly, more than half of the respondents highlighted the fact that these universities offer more support in the search for employment and have larger job centres, whereas in the case of public institutions, fewer than 40 % of respondents perceive this to be the case.
*This article has also been published in Mundo Posgrado