The third edition of ELA has been launched
On 8 June 2018, the third edition of the ELA system was presented. ELA is a nationwide system for monitoring the Economic Trajectories of University Graduates, available at ela.nauka.gov.pl. ELA was created by experts from our Institute and commissioned by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
The analysis of graduate life trajectories brings optimistic results: the situation of graduates of the second cycle study programmes on the labour market has been systematically improving since 2014. The level of unemployment among this group increases in the first few months after graduation, but then begins to fall steadily. At the same time, we can observe a systematic increase in earnings: while in 2014 the average salary of graduates of the second cycle programme in the first year after graduation amounted to PLN 2,591, it grew to PLN 3,096 in the second year, and PLN 3,538 in the third year. At the same time, their earnings grow faster than the average earnings in their place of residence.
This information can be obtained from the ELA system, which has been in operation for three years now.
ELA is based on a methodology developed by researchers from the University of Warsaw and the National Information Processing Institute, using data from the POL-on system and the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) registers. This combination provides information on how university graduates actually fare on the labour market.
ELA automatically generates reports (for individual fields of study, universities or for the country as a whole) on salaries earned by graduate, time needed to find a job, and the unemployment period. It shows the relationship between work and further study time, as well as comparisons across different fields of study. This year, the system offers over 120,000 reports for nearly 28,000 fields of study completed in the last three years by graduates of 390 universities.
An important new feature in the third edition is the way the results are presented. ELA provides user-friendly infographics with key facts and figures on graduate life trajectories, including earnings and activity, including leisure activities. Infographics show the situation of graduates from various areas and fields of education at the national level as well as for specific universities.
Each year, ELA incorporates new graduate cohorts. This year, the studied population included people who completed tertiary in 2014–2016. In total, more than 1.1 million graduates were surveyed. The observation period is extended every year. At present, it is possible to analyse up to three years of occupational history of 2014 graduates (the goal is to monitor the life trajectories during five years after graduation).
The vast majority of graduates of the first cycle programmes continue their education at second cycle programmes. This means that many graduates do not decide to enter the labour market after obtaining a bachelor's degree (licencjat), and wait for another two years, until they have obtained a master’s degree (magister). This is reflected in the values of unemployment rates: in the third year after graduation there is a visible increase in the level of unemployment among graduates of the first cycle programmes. However, this figure can be expected to decline in the future, as is the case for graduates of second cycle studies.
The salaries earned by the first cycle graduates are also growing faster than the average earnings in their place of residence. This means that although graduates may have a difficult start on the labour market, their situation clearly improves over time and, moreover, improvements are faster than those for their neighbours from the same poviats (counties) of residence.
ELA also provides material for drawing interesting conclusions on graduate careers in various fields of study. In comparison to all graduates, graduates of technical fields of study perform better than others. They are visibly less likely to be unemployed and more likely to earn more. Contrary to widespread concerns, social sciences graduates do not perform badly compared to the total number of graduates. What may come as a surprise is that social science graduates fare better on the labour market than natural science graduates.
The ELA system will be developed further. The number of subjects will increase in the coming years as the study incorporates subsequent annual cohorts of graduates. ELA is ready for the entry into force of the so-called ‘Constitution for Science and Research’ and will support the processes that accompany its implementation. There are also plans to expand the information collected within ELA, i.e. to add information on occupational history of graduates and to monitor their occupational activity during the study period in order to further investigate the relationship between tertiary education and the labour market. Additionally, the monitoring is expected to cover the life trajectories of doctoral students and graduates with a doctoral degree, and, in the future, to monitor the life trajectories of graduates of the newly established doctoral schools.
ELA was developed by the National Information Processing Institute (OPI PIB) for the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. OPI PIB is an interdisciplinary research institute reporting to the Ministry and conducts research in the area of information technology. OPI PIB develops IT systems for science and higher education.