After the higher education degree:
paths of study and work-based learning in Italy and in the international context

Global economic crisis, initially perceived by the man of the street in the summer of 2007, has already entered its third wave. After the first wave hit especially the financial system, in 2009 it has eaten the real economic system and employment, including higher education graduates, transforming itself in a deep sustainability crisis for the Euro zone and the overall European integration architecture.

Such a sequence add to prospective risk and uncertainty especially for younger generations and women, in the context of three scenarios which pertain to as many geo-economic spheres: global development, hanging between the growth perspectives of the emerging economic powers and the stationary state suffered from developed countries; European development, hanging between investment options open for inside and outside cooperation, as recommended as of the Delors’ White paper, and asymmetries caused by narrow-mindedness and national political cycles; Italian development hanging between processes of virtuous and internationally open catching-up and closed and localistic visions. In economic and social systems in which organization of knowledge and innovation are on and on transforming the division of labour, life expectancy is significantly increasing and the majority share on employment goes to graduates from post secondary education, the relevance of an integration between study curricula and on the job experience over the life cycle do increases. All the stages included between study, internship and permanent employment contract gain strategic meaning and constrain the different steps and career progressions.

The programme of the AlmaLaurea Conference aims at enquiring into these issues with the usual format and some novelties. The results of the XIV ALMALAUREA Survey on Italian Graduates’ Employment Condition will be presented.

The survey involved altogether nearly 400thousand graduates from 57 universities taking part in the Consortium in 2011 from almost one year, obtaining rather high response rates (90% for graduates after one year from graduation). The survey has been addressed to all graduates (first cycle, second cycle and single cycle) in 2010 and 2008 years, interviewed one and three years after graduation, and to the pre-reform and first cycle graduates in 2006, interviewed five years after graduation. For the first time, an experimental survey of graduates 10 years after graduation has been carried out in order to be able to evaluate their longer run occupational characteristics.

After the general report, an in-depth examination of four particularly important issues will be carried out: the process of acquisition of professional skills by graduates in their work-based learning path; the Ph.D.’ condition, which is influenced both by inequality factors in admission and by problems and sectors characterizing their professional integration; the occupational characteristics of graduates’ ten years after graduation; the crucial issue of the relative position of female graduates, often running aground between success in their studies and discrimination in their profession.

The Conference will continue with two explorations on topics still under investigation. The first one will be discussed by a panel of entrepreneurs and managers, and is devoted to the analysis of the results of an experimental survey on graduates’ assessment by firms. This survey has been carried out thanks to the partnership between SWG and AlmaLaurea. The second exploration will be undertaken with the contribution of main experts working for organizations engaged in development projects in the Euro-Mediterranean area. It will revisit the strategic scenario of the needed and feasible cooperation in the Mediterranean area, already investigated in the International Conference of March 2011. The exploration will take into account also the ongoing partnership between AlmaLaurea and Moroccan universities and the opportunities of expansion of this experience to other countries of the Southern shore.

Afterwards, the Conference will dedicate the round table to the topic "The economic and social value of the higher education degrees after the global crisis". The issue concerns the economic and social value of higher education degrees after the global crisis. This main issue can be viewed from two polar standpoints. On the one side, the "optimistic view" will be presented of scholars who think that even in the middle of the global crisis and the transition to a service or knowledge-based economy a positive association will persist between higher education credentials and economic and social success. According to this view, training and technology on the job are sequential to post-secondary education, and all these stages are complementary in determining productivity and earnings. Furthermore, an high risk of underinvestment in human capital will be the likely outcome even in the United States. On the other side, the "pessimistic view" will be presented of scholars who think that education, even if highly relevant for equity reasons, cannot be an appropriate answer to the need of the nations' economic prosperity. In this view technological change and globalization are fostering a new incentive structure in which many high salary, non manual and high education jobs will be standardized and delocalized. The issue will be first systematically introduced by experts and then discussed by policymakers and stakeholders.

Simultaneous translation
into English and French will be available



Welcome Addresses:
Luigi FRATI (Rector, University of Roma La Sapienza)
Marco MANCINI (President, CRUI - Conference of Italian University Rectors)
Andrea LENZI (President, CUN - National University Council)

Fabio Alberto ROVERSI MONACO (President AlmaLaurea)

Gilberto ANTONELLI (AlmaLaurea, University of Bologna)

14th Survey on graduates’ employment condition
Andrea CAMMELLI (Director AlmaLaurea)
Discussant: Kate PURCELL (University of Warwick - Institute for Employment Research)

Special focuses:

Graduates’ professional achievement
Sara BINASSI and Lara TAMPELLINI (AlmaLaurea)
Discussant: Roberto TORRINI (ANVUR - National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes)

Ph.D. graduates: selection at entry and professional outcomes
Gabriele BALLARINO (University of Milano) and Claudia GIROTTI (AlmaLaurea)
Discussant: Francesca BRAIT (ISTAT)

Employment opportunities 10 years after graduation
Chiara CIMINI and Silvia GHISELLI (AlmaLaurea)
Discussant: Anna PRADES NEBOT (Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya, Barcelona)

Female graduates, jobs ceilings
Clementina CASULA (University of Cagliari) and Bruno CHIANDOTTO (University of Firenze)
Discussant: Annamaria POGGI (University of Torino, AlmaLaurea)








Guido FABIANI (Rector of the University Roma Tre, President of the Regional Coordination Committee of the University of Lazio)

Graduates in firms’ assessment
Giancarlo GASPERONI (AlmaLaurea, University of Bologna), Francesca RALLI (AlmaLaurea) and Maurizio PESSATO (SWG S.r.l.)
Ennio LUCARELLI (President, Confindustria Innovative and Technological Services)
Alessandro RAMAZZA (Obiettivo Lavoro S.p.A.)
Amedeo VEGLIO (Assolombarda)

Graduates and employment in the Southern shore of the Mediterranean:
AlmaLaurea cooperation projects in Morocco and Tunisia

Carla SALVATERRA (Vice-Rector delegated for International Relations, University of Bologna, AlmaLaurea)
Abdelhafid DEBBARH (Secretary General, Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Scientific Research, Morocco)
Oussama BENABDELKARIM (Director, Bureau de Statistique et de la Planification Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieure, Tunisia)
Adriana JARAMILLO (World Bank - Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration)
Alberto QUADRIO CURZIO (University Cattolica - Vice-President Accademia dei Lincei)

Round Table
The economic and social value of the higher education degrees after the global crisis

Chair: Maria Helena NAZARÉ (President elect, European University Association) and Fabio Alberto ROVERSI MONACO (President AlmaLaurea)

Outline of the issue:
Nicole SMITH (Georgetown University - Center on Education and the Workforce, Washington D.C.)

Elizabeth KING (World Bank - Director, Education Human Development Network, Washington D.C.)
Giorgio SQUINZI (CEO of Mapei Group SpA, President of the Technical Committee for Europe, Confindustria)
Stefano FANTONI (President, Board of Directors, ANVUR - National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes)
Luca SCARPIELLO (Vice President, European Youth Forum)


Francesco PROFUMO (Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research)
Elsa FORNERO (Italian Ministry of Welfare, Labour and Equal Opportunities)

At the beginning and during the Conference songs will be performed by students of Italian Conservatories.


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