Improved job opportunities for higher education graduates


Good news for higher education graduates! Research has shown that the unemployment rate for this group has decreased from 7.3% in 2013 to 4.6% in 2016.

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The Higher Education Monitor - HBO-monitor in Dutch - is a survey that is conducted every year among alumni from Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands.

Unemployment decreased

The Dutch HBO-monitor provides insight into the job market position and experiences of higher education graduates. The latest results show that the unemployment rate for graduates of universities of applied sciences decreased from 7.3% in 2013, 6.5% in 2014 and 5.5% in 2015 to 4.6% in 2016. 

This decrease applies to full-time, part-time and dual degree graduates that finished a higher education programme in the Netherlands.  

Finding a job at their level

Higher education graduates do not only find a job faster, the number of graduates that work at a higher level also increased – doing this about 1,5 years after graduation. In 2014, this percentage was 74% (77% in 2015) and in 2016 it has increased to over 80%.  

“The results show that the quality of higher education is well-tailored to job market needs,” says Thom de Graaf, chairperson of the Dutch Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, in Dutch ‘Vereniging Hogescholen’.

Unemployment rates fell in various sectors

Unemployment of higher education graduates fell for the third year in a row, to 4.6% in 2016. This is a decrease of 2.7 percentage points in three years’ time. Especially the unemployment rates for part-time and dual degree graduates is relatively low. This has decreased to 2.7% and 1.1%, respectively. Unemployment rates are the lowest for full-time graduates in the health care sector, being 3.0%. The employment rate is slightly higher for full-time graduates in the education sector (3.1%) and the art sector (3.1%). The unemployment rate in the art sector has decreased almost 3 percentage points compared to last year.

Match between education and work

It seems that 75% of the graduates are satisfied with the match between their education and job market requirements. Full-time graduates not only work more often, their job is also at a higher level. In 2015 at least 77% worked at a higher professional education level and in 2016 this percentage has increased to 80%. The percentage of full-time graduates with a job within their own field of work has slightly increased from 75% in 2015 to 77% in 2016. Nine out of ten graaduates from the health care and education sector find a job in their own or strongly related work field. The match between education and work is considered positive by 75% of the full-time graduates, which has been 72% in 2015. Graduates from the educational sector feel especially positive about the match (87%).  

About the HBO-monitor

The HBO-monitor is a research that is conducted every year by the The Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) of the University of Applied Sciences of Maastricht. One and a half years after graduation, alumni are asked a wide range of questions. This provides valuable information, helping secondary school students to choose a study programme and giving universities a better understanding of the experiences of their alumni. It also provides insight into the labour market situation of higher professional education graduates.

Source: Vereniging Hogescholen (in Dutch)