Career Tracking Abroad
Graduate career tracking abroad has a long tradition. The methods can differ between countries, and there are several types, ranging from completely centralised surveys to research conducted individually by institutions. What they have in common is that they intend to cause higher education to converge with labour market demands everywhere.
Career tracking surveys conducted by different institutions abroad generally resemble each other apart from those with explicitly special requirements. Most questions concern labour market opportunities, assessments of studies and in many cases also trying to find out how much the competencies and skills acquired during studies have met the expectations of the labour market.
The careers of graduates have been tracked in Australia, New-Zealand, Great Britain and Sweden since the 1970s. In the 1990's there were statistics and survey systems in most European countries that gathered information about graduates following their graduation, however, this issue has been addressed only recently in Hungary.
The basic objective of graduate career tracking surveys in most countries is to map up the relationship between education and the labour market, the market value of education and the characteristics of the employment of graduates on the labour market.
Institutions generally use the results in order to obtain information, to provide information, in strategic planning and, most of all, for marketing purposes.
In surveys conducted by research institutions the scientific element and the demand for establishing general educational and labour market analyses are the determining factors.
Ministries exploit the career tracking survey results in decision-making and supervision. In the Central-Eastern European and the South-European regions the survey facilitates the harmonisation of labour market demands with the conditions of education.
The information obtained is used by educational institutions and career consultancies to help career orientation and facilitate career planning. The way they do that may differ from country to country. For example, in New-Zealand lists are compiled by field of study or major and jobs that can be taken, whilst in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria, wage calculators and databases with search options are provided from the results.
Examining practice in foreign countries and studying experiences, and the consequences emerging from those is the first step towards developing the domestic system. However, copying foreign examples would not be a viable solution-and it is not done in Hungary-since there are no generally accepted international standards in graduate career tracking. What we are able to and actually do is to develop our own system that draws inspiration from the success and learns from the failures of other countries. It is certain however that graduate career tracking will result in strengthening the relationship between higher education and the labour market.