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Graduates’ employment and employability after the “Bologna Process“ reform. Evidence from the Italian experience and methodological issues

In a phase of depression and systemic crisis investments are essential assets in organizing the recovery, and the more so when innovation is relevant. This is why universities, companies, households and graduates implement strategies for overcoming the present crisis, leading to structural changes and competition both at the local and international level.

In this framework, tracer studies on graduates transition to the labour markets provides fundamental insights and information not only to the organizations responsible for their training, but also to the economic system as a whole. Moreover, any such study is all the more useful when it can draw upon reliable and up-to-date information.

This paper emphasizes three main points.
First we present the results achieved by the AL model in tracing the transition path of graduates from the time they enrolled at the university until a few years after earning the degree. The survey is carried out every year by the AL and makes it possible to analyze the most recent labour market trends through the scrutiny of the career opportunities available for the graduates after 1, 3 and 5 years on from graduation. More specifically, we will present the results of the 2008 survey. This survey involved also all first and second level graduates from the 2007 vintage. 
Second, we examine the revision in our survey method, adopted in order to face the need to monitor a much higher number of post-reform graduates (more than 140 thousand overall) and the call of the Ministry and the universities to keep the information as much detailed as possible in assessing the employment outcomes for each single degree course, without losing feasibility in terms of costs and data collection time. In fact, we resorted to a mixed method: the computer assisted web interviewing (CAWI) and the computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). This is why it became necessary to measure and assess the effect of this approach on the answers given by interviewed graduates.
In third place, we outline the results of some preliminary experiments carried on in order to allow for specific and recurrent comparisons between the results achieved with the AL model and other similar models dealing with the employment conditions of Italian graduates.