Eurostudent VII study indicates that 90% of higher education degree holders have found a job within a year after graduation. The study also found that labor- and education-related immigration needs to increase significantly in Finland.

Seniors of upper secondary school at their traditional celebration called 'penkkarit' before starting to prepare for matriculation exams. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today
Seniors of upper secondary school at their traditional celebration called ‘penkkarit’ before starting to prepare for matriculation exams. Photograph: Tony Öhberg/Finland Today

The latest Eurostudent study (VII) found that over 70% of students feel very positive about their future while 84% consider it highly likely that they will find a job that corresponds to their qualifications.

The study specifically focused on examining the living conditions, studies, mobility, social background and livelihoods of students in higher education.

The data indicates that 90% of higher education degree holders have found a job within 12 months of graduation. However, there is some disparity in the students’ confidence about finding a job based on their field of study. The study links this to several factors, such as “the sector-specific labor market situation in each field of study, the quality of work before and during studies and the amount of experience.”

Previous work experience in particular can be more relevant in certain fields than others. According to the study, “in the fields of humanities, arts and technology, work experience is deemed to play a major role in becoming employed,” while that is less true for, say, the healthcare sector.

The Ministry of Education and Culture, which quoted the study in a press release, believes higher education in Finland is easily accessible to people of different backgrounds, “based on the gender, age and diverse life situations of higher education students.” However, the Eurostudent VII study did support earlier findings that “the children of highly educated parents end up in higher education considerably more often than others.” Among university students, for example, 76% are from families where at least one of the parents is highly educated.

Annika Saarikko, the minister of science and culture, said that “the student research data shows that we need to make higher education easier to access.”

The study also shows that students mostly want to attend an exchange at some point during their studies, which is attributed to the students’ “high motivation and the usefulness of studying abroad.” The main reasons for students deciding not to study abroad, however, seem to be financial constraints, separation from family and minimal advantage for studies, based on respondents’ answers.

Another important takeaway from the study was the integration of international students in Finland. Finland’s demographic projections seem to warrant an increase not only in labor-related immigration, but also in education-related immigration. As the ministry pointed out, “owing to the anticipated shortages in skills, the aim is for more foreign graduate students to find a job in Finland after graduation.”

According to the study, foreign students apply to study in Finland mainly because of the international reputation of its education system. Nearly half of the foreign students in the survey reported that they were willing to work in Finland after graduation, often because a spouse or a partner lives or is moving to Finland. “A good 40% said their plans were open, so various integration measures and employment assistance already during their studies could improve their chances of staying,” the ministry noted.