National and Regional Balances of Qualifications and Occupations in the EHEA Countries
Head of the Center for Comparative Eurasian Studies and Surveys (CEASS-Center), Vienna, Austria email@example.com
Professor in Pedagogy and Youth Research at the Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, Munich, Germany Natalia.Waechter@edu.lmu.de
The article addresses the rapid expansion of higher education (HE) in Europe, also described by scholars as massification and universalization of HE. This process has raised concerns about the inflation and deflation of the socio-economic value of HE diplomas if the supply side (HE graduates) is not met with adequate demand (qualified positions available on the labour market). The article analyses the development of tertiary education rates across Europe in an international comparative perspective. With the newly developed indicator it investigates how the relation of graduate rates and the demand for graduates on the labour markets has changed from 1999 to 2017. Empirical data from the UNESCO and ILO databases were used for a sample of 44 out of 48 countries in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), as well as for the USA as a reference country. The results of the empirical study reveal a slightly decreasing prevalence of the demand for graduate workers over the supply of tertiary graduates for most European countries, which were clustered into five regions. However, the macro-model shows that only in the cluster of the Post-Soviet countries, there are several countries with more graduates than required by the labour market(s), with national variations. In the discussion, the authors conclude that individuals and societies may profit from the universalisation of HE under the condition that educational policies foster the quality of HE programs and outcomes, meet with more professionalism in the labour market, and increase human potential as well as social inclusion and cohesion.