The value of a university degree
A university degree is still a guarantee of employment. The confirmation comes from the latest AlmaLaurea Report on the Profile and Employment Status of Italian Graduates that shows how a university degree offers more employment opportunities throughout one's entire career, even and especially during recessions like those faced by our country in recent years. The data show it clearly: a university degree is a good investment.
"Surveys by AlmaLaurea confirm the improvement already seen last year, with a clear message: earning a degree pays, more than a high school diploma", says Professor Ivano Dionigi, President of AlmaLaurea.
University graduates have an employment rate of 78% compared to 65% of high school graduates and earn 42% more.
It remains true that only 30% of nineteen year olds go on to university: we are in last place in Europe for the percentage of graduates.
The latest OECD Report 2016 shows that in 2015 Italy was in last place among OECD countries of the European area for university graduates in the age range of 25-34: with 25% we are behind Turkey, 28%, and in second to last place of all OECD countries. As of this year the only country worse than Italy is Mexico (21%).
Furthermore, analysing the same statistic over time it is clear that in Italy over the last 10 years the share of graduates in the age group 25-34 years, while improving, has grown less than the other countries that were at the same level in 2005.
There is an evident need to invest in a renewed culture of higher instruction, first and foremost through the implementation of appropriate policies for student support and an orientation towards a university education.
"We must invest much more in scholarships and on orientation to offer more opportunities for graduates notwithstanding unfavourable socio-economic backgrounds of families", says the Minister of Education, University and Research, Valeria Fedeli.
These policies are complemented by the need for greater linkage between businesses and universities. A link that starts with a greater appreciation of university degrees by managers and business owners, and through the creation of more professional and practical university programmes. Data show that even today 56% of first-level graduates at the end of the course of study decide to continue on by enrolling in a master course.
Hence the increasing need to create more professional first-level degree programmes that are more in line with demand than with supply, allowing young people to enter the job market more rapidly and with the right skills.
"Welcome and worthy of note, therefore, is the initiative proposed by the Conference of Rectors and their 'Professional Degree Project'. Unique and targeted professional degrees based on our country's skill set that others don't have", clarifies President Dionigi.