Journal of Service Science and Management, 2011, 4, 86-96
doi:10.4236/jssm.2011.41012 Published Online March 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher
Technological Education into the Labor Market
Christos Koilias1, Vassilis Kostoglou2, Ar i s togiannis Garmpi s 3, Beatrice van der Heijden4,5
1Department of Informatics, Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Athens, Athens, Greece; 2Department of Informatics, Al-
exander TEI of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece; 3Department of Applied Informatics in Administration and Economy, TEI of
Messolonghi, Messolonghi, Greece; 4Instititute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; 5Open
University of the Netherlands, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands.
Received November 18th, 2010; revised December 27th, 2010; accepted December 28th, 2010.
Higher technological education graduates constitute one of the most important and promising newcomers at the labor
market. A smooth and successful vocational socialization of this category of future workers is one of the primary targets
of educational systems, and policy makers at both; a national and a European level. This article focuses on the incor-
poration process of graduates from Greek higher technological education in the labor market. Original empirical data
has been collected through a national survey using a newly developed structured questionnaire that has been addressed
to a large representative sample of graduates from 11 Technological Educational Institutes. The resulting sample con-
sisted of 5,183 respondents corresponding to 9 broader groups of specialties consisting of 51 professions requiring
four-year higher education. Statistical analyses have been used to determine the main parameters of successful voca-
tional socialization. The main outcomes of this research study indicate that gender, specialty of bachelor degree and
postgraduate education are the most important factors affecting significantly the status and quality of graduates in-
corporation into the labor market. This contribution concludes with a reflection upon the main results, as well as some
recommendations for further research.
Keywords: Graduates, Higher Technological Education, Human Resources, Labor Market, Greece
1. Introduction
Graduates of higher technological education comprise
one of the largest and most important parts of the new
coming human resource in the Greek labor market. The
new globalized economic and work setting has affected
significantly the labor market and the growing demand
for personnel skilled in technological issues. Obviously,
it is highly important to better understand the quality of
vocational socialization of graduates from higher tech-
nological educational institutes (TEI). In-depth informa-
tion about the identification of the professional profile of
TEI graduates is considered, and the success of the voca-
tional incorporation process to be the basis for the forma-
tion of appropriate policies for a successful labor market
One of the main issues of attention concerns the char-
acter of vocational incorporation, as in the past a smooth
incorporation into the labor market after higher education
was just taken for granted, and the sole interest was the
specific profession the graduate would strive for. How-
ever, in the past decades things have thoroughly changed.
In 1996, the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development reported that a considerable group of
youngsters hardly participated in (higher) education, and,
as result, did not succeed in active labor market partici-
pation [1]. Vincens conceptualized vocational socializa-
tion as the first employment of any kind, or the employ-
ment in a work position relevant to one’s previous educa-
tion, or even the finding of a permanent job [2]. Some sci-
entists define the latter as employment stability implying
that one has a permanent work position or is able to con-
tinuously be employed in different positions ensuring a
steady income [3,4]. It might be clear, that none of the
above-mentioned definitions includes and examines the
issue of the quality of the vocational socialization proc-
ess. Another recent research study argues that the quality
of the socialization process is reflected in the type of em-
ployment (part-time versus full-time), the wage, and the
‘fit’ between the educational program and work content [5].
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market87
To conclude, the main objective of this study is to
examine the vocational socialization process of TEI gra-
duates by means of an extensive analysis of the responses
of a large-scale representative large national sample of
graduates of five consecutive years. The principal vari-
ables examined are related to the professional status of
graduates once they have entered the labor market, as
well as the variables describing their qualitative percep-
tions of their incorporation process.
At national level this work is one of the very first ef-
forts to approach the analysis of graduates’ vocational
socialization through a large-scale survey. Karamesini
was the first one to publish on the first national survey on
the incorporation of university graduates in the labor
market [5]. Up to now, only two studies have been pub-
lished dealing particularly with higher technological
education; the first one in national level and the second
in institutional and departmental [6,7].
Regarding the structure of this paper, next section
deals with the theoretical background of the examined
issues. The methodology adopted for the collection and
analysis of our empirical data is outlined in section 3.
The fourth section of this contribution reports the results
of the participating graduates’ main employment charac-
teristics. For sake of clarity, this section is divided in
seven subsections referring to different aspects of voca-
tional socialization. The last section summarizes the
main results; comes up with recommendations for future
research, and concludes with some practical implications.
2. Theoretical Background
The economic crisis that started in the early ‘70s, and
that is still prevalent up to now, had some direct conse-
quences for the labor market. New types of occupation
have been created, and the transition from education to
employment was affected significantly. Enterprises, in
their effort to react to the slowing down of their eco-
nomic growth, and to the decrease of demand of products
and services, adopted alternative types of employment
for their personnel. Nowadays, part-time employment,
hetero-employment (that is work not vocationally related
to the subject of study) and temporary work are com-
monly used labor market practices in all developed
economies [8]. These economic changes also affected the
entrance of the labor market. More specifically, their
entrance in the market is delayed significantly in com-
parison with the situation 25 years ago. Additionally,
during the last two decades, the participation of students
in higher and postgraduate education is much higher
(over-education). Therefore, in most occasions, the voca-
tional socialization takes place several years after gradu-
ating from secondary education [9]. The time interval for
the transition from education to work has been prolonged
as well. Firstly, the ways for finding a job are now quite
different, and secondly, the new generation has many
more professional experiences until the actual vocational
socialization takes place [10]. The previously mentioned
transition period often includes part-time work and/or
hetero-employment experiences, periods of unemploy-
ment, subsidized work positions, and, frequently, getting
back into education or vocational training in order to
increase one’s chances for getting a more relevant and
better paid job [11,12].
The phenomena that have been outlined above, and
that are related to increased unemployment and difficult
entrance to the labor market created significant societal
and scientific interest. The scientists focused their efforts
on studying the obstacles for vocational socialization of
youngsters, determining hindering factors, the ways used
for getting a job, the required skills, to mention but a few
approaches [13,14]. However, as the conditions in the
labor market have changed, and the transition to the
world of work has new characteristics, economists and
sociologists have started examining the ways and the
paths of the transition, and the amount of time that is
needed to complete a successful incorporation process in
the labor market [15].
Economists argue that the determinant factors for gra-
duates’ vocational socialization are the existing ma-
cro-economic conditions at the time of transition, the
relationship between education and labor market, the
current wages, and the market’s structure [13,16]. Some
important models have been developed identifying and
explaining the variables effecting the transition, and de-
fining the incorporation process of graduates in the labor
market [17-20]. Certain models (human capital model,
mobility and work seeking model) consider the specific
phase of the graduates’ professional life cycle as the
main cause of unemployment, and do not accept the ex-
istence of malfunction in the economic system. A
long-lasting unemployment after graduation results in the
depreciation of the knowledge acquired from educational
programs and in the discouragement of putting more ef-
forts in getting employed [19,21]. Other economic mod-
els (model of labor competition and labor market seg-
mentation) consider low wages and frequent professional
mobility, and the malfunctions of the economic system
and the labor market structure as principal factors of
unemployment. Finally, in the model of structural unem-
ployment the lack of links between education and market
is interpreted to be the main cause of unemployment, and
the educational system is indicated to be the main hin-
drance due to the lack of providing appropriate knowl-
edge and skills that are needed to find a suitable work
position [22].
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market
On the other hand, sociological approaches focus on
the issue of social origin as the main factor influencing
the educational and vocational choices of graduates.
Some new elements that have been added to the theo-
retical and empirical arguments aimed at explaining in-
corporation comprise the characteristics of higher educa-
tion institutes, and the provided specialties, the statutory
framework for vocational socialization, the development
of active employment types from the state, and the role
of the public sector in the market [9,11].
3. Research Methodology
This section goes into the sample and procedure of the
study, as well as into the statistical techniques used.
Original empirical data was collected in the second se-
mester of 2009 from the Career Offices of the Greek TEI
which carried out institutional surveys at an earlier stage
(during 2007 and 2008). Every establishment of higher
education was asked to collect information at the same
time period, by approaching persons who graduated in a
specified time interval (1997-2001), and by using the
survey tool designed for this purpose. For statistical rea-
sons (homogeneous and comparable results), only gradu-
ates from institutions that exactly followed the above-
mentioned prerequisites in the data collection process
were included in the final sample.
The method used for the analysis was telephonic inter-
view through the use of a structured questionnaire spe-
cially prepared for this purpose. The questionnaire used
consists of 43 closed, pre-coded questions and is divided
in three parts: 1) personal and demographic issues of the
respondents (11 questions); 2) educational issues (11
questions); and 3) employment issues and the incorpora-
tion of the graduates in the labor market (21 questions).
Graduates of 11 TEI were included in this study yielding
a total of 5,183 valid questionnaires. The final sample
consists of graduates from 9 broader specialties consist-
ing of 50 different professions. Detailed sampling infor-
mation is presented in Table 1.
The tools used for the statistical analyses were SPSS
(the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), as well
as using MS-Excel for data visualization. Graduates’
responses were analyzed by means of both descriptive
and inferential statistics. As this paper focuses on report-
ing the general findings at a national level, and on the
detection of the existing relationships between the vari-
ables involved, emphasis has been given to the descrip-
tive statistics. The X2 test has been used for the examina-
tion of the statistical dependence between two variables.
4. Results and Analysis on the Employment
The first two parts of this section go into some basic
Table 1. Broader specialties and corresponding sample sizes.
Specialty Number of
Agriculture 6 534 10
Graphics and Arts 5 167 3
Management and Economics 7 1709 33
Care & Welfare 3 95 2
Health Technology 4 149 3
Health 6 873 17
Food and Nutrition 3 157 3
Engineering 14 1079 21
Information Technologies 3 420 8
Total 51 5183 100
demographic and educational information, and some
main employment issues of graduates, respectively. The
third part focuses on the graduates who managed to find
employment. The fourth sub section goes into self-em-
ployed graduates, while the fifth section goes into unem-
ployed graduates. In the sixth part, some other issues of
vocational socialization are reported. Finally, the out-
comes of the relationships between all study variables are
reported in the seventh sub section.
4.1. Demography and Education
The variables that were included in the statistical analysis
are: gender, marital status, duration of studies, degree
grade, postgraduate education, and knowledge of foreign
According to the results of the survey, women consti-
tute the majority (58%) in the examined sample, whereas
men comprise 42% of the graduates in the years 1997-
2001. However, significant diversifications between the
universities are noticed due to their very different com-
position regarding their fields (departments) of studies.
52% of the graduates are married, with a statistically
significant difference according to gender; 60% of women
are married while only 40% of the men are married (Χ2 =
194.80 > 3.84).
The mean duration of bachelor studies (time interval
between entrance and graduation) is 5.5 years; however
with a high standard deviation and statistically significant
differences for graduates from different TEI implying an
unequal degree of difficulty among the various fields of
study. According to law, degree marks are classified in a
three-point scale. The following outcomes have been
found: 1) a “good” degree mark (5-6.4 in a 0 - 10 scale
for 43% of the graduates (52% of the men and 36% of
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market89
the women); 2) a “very good” mark (6.5-8.4) for 54% of
the graduates (46% of the men and 59% of the women);
and 3) for only 3% of the graduates (2% of the men and
5% of the women) enjoy an honors degree (8.5-10).
There is a significant difference between men and wom-
en (X2 = 145.64 > 5.99). The latter achieve better final
degree grades.
Nowadays, further education (additional education af-
ter the first degree) with the acquisition of postgraduate
or other kinds of degrees is a usual practice for graduates
in order to find a better work position, to remain active in
the market, and, most importantly, to improve their pro-
fessional status. Seven to eleven years after graduation,
11.4% of the graduates have completed postgraduate
studies in Greece (6.1%) or abroad (5.3%). The percent-
age of men who have acquired additional education is
almost double than that of women (16% and 9%, respec-
tively). However, it is estimated that, at present, this per-
centage has already risen significantly due to the massive
increase of provided postgraduate studies during the last
decade in Greece.
Graduates portray a significant knowledge of foreign
languages. English is by far the most popular foreign
language as it has been reported by 94% of the graduates;
19% of them reported excellent knowledge and 36% a
very good knowledge. Two thirds of them (66%) have
acquired a relevant degree. French, German and Italian
have also focused the interest of some of the graduates
(13%, 10%, and 9% respectively). Only 5% of the gra-
duates do not speak any foreign language.
4.2. Main Employment Issues
Seven to eleven years after graduation, nearly nine out of
ten graduates (88.5%) were employed at the time of the
study. Nearly 75% are employees and 14% are self-em-
ployed. Unemployed graduates come up to 7.4%, and
inactive ones (that is, not available for the labor market)
come up to 4.1%.
Table 2 shows the employment status in relation to
gender. The percentage of self-employed men appears to
be double compared to that of women (20% versus 9%
respectively). The situation regarding the lack of a
working position is the opposite: women’s unemploy-
ment rate is over twice as high as men’s, and the rate of
Table 2. Employment status in rel ation to ge nde r .
Gender Employed Self-employed Unemployed Inactive
Men 74% 20% 4% 2%
Women 76% 9% 10% 6%
Total 75% 14% 7% 4%
inactive women is triple compared to that of men. These
differences are statistically significant (X2 = 207.37 >
7.81). From a recent labor force survey, conducted by the
National Statistical Service of Greece, it was found that
the mean unemployment rate of higher education gradu-
ates of similar age groups as the graduates in this survey
was 9.15% [23]. Thus, it can be argued that the unem-
ployment of TEI graduates is lower in comparison with
the overall graduates’ unemployment rate. Moreover, the
professional status of graduates is significantly depend-
ent on other variables apart of the year of graduation. A
higher percentage of single graduates are employed (3%
more) in comparison with the married ones. The unem-
ployment rates are about equal (~7%). Nevertheless,
married graduates, mainly women, are more often unem-
ployed (2% more) in comparison with singles. Thus,
there is a moderate association between employment and
marital status (X2 = 18.23 > 7.81).
The bachelor degree grade seems to play an important
role in the professional status of graduates (X2 = 57.19 >
7.81). The unemployment and inactivity rates do not dif-
ferentiate; there is however a significant difference in
self-employment rates. A very good or excellent degree
grade gives graduates more confidence and, subsequently,
success in competitive processes (such as, interviews,
employment exams, tests, etc) aimed at obtaining a suit-
able work position. Graduates who have had fair marks
during their bachelor studies tend to turn more to self-
employment. There is also a moderate significant asso-
ciation between professional status and postgraduate
studies (X2 = 14 > 7.81). The unemployment rate of
graduates who have not acquired a postgraduate degree is
double compared to their counterparts who do have ob-
tained a postgraduate degree (8% versus 4%).
Table 3 presents the type of employment of working
TEI graduates according to gender. The vast majority of
them (81%) are full-time employees. Only 4% work on a
part-time basis. This small proportion in combination
with the significant unemployment and inactivity rates
strongly indicate that flexible types of work are not pop-
ular yet in Greece. 15% of these graduates are self-
emoyed, and most of them (9% of the working popula-
tion) work alone.
Table 3. Type of employment according to gender.
Gender Full time
Part time
Men 76% 3% 9% 12%
Women 84% 5% 3% 7%
Total 81% 4% 6% 9%
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The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market
The type of employment appears to depend signifi-
cantly on gender, institution of graduation, field of spe-
cialty, and degree grade. On the other hand, marital sta-
tus, year of graduation, and postgraduate studies ap-
peared not to have an effect.
4.3. Employed Graduates
The analysis below focuses on the largest category of the
examined sample, that is, the full-time employees. Im-
portant employment variables, such as the relationship
between employment and studies, the ways of finding the
present position, wages, the satisfaction with one’s job
and salary, as well as other main issues related to voca-
tional socialization are examined.
A ‘relevance index’ (Ci) has been introduced for the
analysis of the relationship between employment and
bachelor studies (1).
Ci equals to
Pi P
where Pi is the number of graduates reporting that the
relevance between employment and studies is in the cat-
egory of a five-point rating scale (1 = minimal, 2 = small,
3 = modest, 4 = high and 5 = very high). The results of
this analysis are presented in Table 4. It is worth noting
that the index has not been introduced for marking the
institutions but only for measuring the mean correspon-
dence degrees. Nearly two thirds of the graduates (64%)
declared that their present job has a high or very high
relationship with their studies. There is, however, quite a
high proportion (21%) of graduates, whose employment
is completely different than their initial studies, showing
the existence of significant hetero-employment, a grow-
ing phenomenon in the European Union, especially in its
Mediterranean members states [24]. The highest index
value is reported by the graduates of SPTE (4.18), and
the lowest for those of Messolonghi (2.87). The existing
discrepancies in the value of ci are partially justified by
the different specializations offered by the various insti-
Table 5 presents the ways used by the participating
graduates for finding their present work position. The
most important channel, used by nearly 40% of the em-
ployed graduates, comprises participation in (most usu-
ally public) examinations. The use of acquaintances, and
media announcements are also quite often reported (24%
and 16%, respectively). On the opposite, some statutory
channels, such as the compulsory six-month practical
training, the Greek Manpower Employment Organization,
and the institutional Career Offices do not seem to be
popular or efficient channels for getting a working posi-
tion; in total, they are only used by 8% of the graduates.
It is interesting to find out that 13% of the graduates de-
Table 4. Relevance between employment and studies for
each TEI.
ΤΕΙ Minimal SmallModest High Very
Athens 11% 5% 12% 21% 50%3.94
Crete 24% 3% 9% 27% 38%3.52
Epirus 25% 4% 2% 3% 67%3.83
Kavala 27% 5% 15% 18% 35%3.29
Lamia 15% 2% 8% 10% 65%4.08
Messolonghi42% 6% 6% 15% 31%2.87
Serres 16% 7% 11% 36% 29%3.54
SPTE1 7% 4% 11% 23% 56%4.15
Thessaloniki25% 4% 11% 27% 33%3.39
Macedonia 25% 7% 11% 17% 40%3.40
Total 21% 5% 11% 22% 42% 3.59
1SPTE: School of Pedagogical and Technological Education.
Table 5. Channels for finding current position.
Channel used % of graduates
Career offices 1%
Practical training 4%
GMEO1 3%
Media announcements 16%
Acquaintances 24%
Examinations 39%
Other 13%
1GMEO: Greek Manpower Employment Organization.
clared the use of another, not specified, channel.
Almost two thirds (63%) of the employed graduates
are highly (37%) or very highly (26%) satisfied with the
content of their present job. Only 17% of them appeared
to express dissatisfaction, having reported minimal (13%)
or small (4%) satisfaction. There were no significant dif-
ferences between men and women. However, we have
found some statistically significant difference between
the graduates of different institutions (X2 = 184.93 >
For the analysis of graduates’ wages, they net monthly
payment was split in four categories (less than € 800, €
800 to € 1500, € 1501 to € 2500, and over € 2500). The
majority (74% earns between € 800 and € 1500. Nearly
one fifth (19%) has small earnings (under € 800), and
only a few (7%) over € 1500. The relevant differences
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market91
noted between men and women are impressive. The per-
centage of women in the lowest payment category is
double compared to men (24% versus 12%), whereas the
difference in the highest two categories is almost quad-
ruple (3% versus 12% aggregately). Considering as mean
value of the first category the amount of € 700 and of the
last one € 2850, it has been calculated that the mean
monthly net payment of the total sample equals to € 1150.
The graduates of the two TEIs (Athens and SPTE) situ-
ated in the district of the capital Athens, enjoy the highest
mean monthly payment (€ 1234 and € 1215 respectively).
The lowest one corresponds to graduatesof the TEI of
Thessaloniki (€ 1086). However the significant time dif-
ference (nearly one and a half years) in the collection of
the corresponding questionnaires explains and probably
smoothes out these wage differences.
The degree of satisfaction with one’s monthly salary is
significantly lower compared with the satisfaction with
one’s present position. Only 37% of the graduates appear
to be highly (29%) or very highly (8%) satisfied with
their salary, an almost equal percentage reports modest
satisfaction (38%), while remaining 25% appear to be
4.4. Self-Employed Graduates
Self-employed graduates constitute nearly one seventh
(13.6%) of the total sample. More than six out of ten
(61.6%) of the self-employed graduates are men. Taking
into account the gender distribution of all graduates
(women 58% versus men 42%), it implies that the per-
centage of men turning to self-employment is double
than that of women. Eleven per cent of the self-employed
graduates have acquired a postgraduate degree. Forty per
cent of them have established their own enterprise; the
others work as free-lancers. Table 6 presents their ana-
lytical numbers and percentages for all TEIs.
Most self-employed graduates (62%) have declared
that they established their own enterprise after their gra-
duation, whereas 30% work in their own family’s enter-
prise. Eight per cent of the self-employed graduates have
mentioned other ways of enterprise establishment. The
majority of the enterprises (78%) employ one to five em-
ployees, 21% of them employ six to 50 employees, and
there are two enterprises employing 80 and 150 persons.
Nearly half of the self-employed graduates (49%) have
been financed by family funds, 13% by bank loans, 12%
by national or EU entrepreneurship support programs,
and 26% by means of several other sources. Nevertheless,
the satisfaction degree of the graduates who decided to
establish an enterprise with employees, or who decided
to work independently as free-lancers without personnel
is significantly higher compared to that of the employed
graduates. It is obvious that the satisfaction of the self-
Table 6. Self-employed graduates according to each TEI.
Numbers of self-employed graduates
ΤΕΙ Enterprise
owners Free-lancers Total
Athens 45 110 155 22%
Crete 36 8 74 10%
Kavala 41 37 78 11%
Lamia 13 15 28 4%
Messolonghi 9 19 28 4%
Serres 22 43 65 9%
SPTE 10 9 19 3%
Thessaloniki 74 122 196 28%
Western Macedonia 27 28 55 8%
Total 282 426 708 100%
employed graduates is high; 86% reports an adequate
(50%) or high (36%) degree of satisfaction. Only 14% of
the self-employed graduates consider themselves as dis-
4.5. Unemployed Graduates
The analysis of the outcomes given by the unemployed
graduates includes some main demographic and educa-
tional issues, as well as some relevant work-related pa-
rameters, such as the previous working experience, the
unemployment interval, the most popular channels for
getting a job, and the estimated reasons of unemployment.
The statistical significance of the relationships between
some of the variables is also examined and reported on.
Out of the 7.4% unemployed graduates, 77% are
women, and only 23% are men, indicating a strong sig-
nificant effect of gender, and the inferior position of
women at the labor market. The vast majority of unem-
ployed men are single (81%), whereas the opposite ap-
pears to be the case for women: 62% of them are mar-
The percentage of unemployed graduates per year of
graduation (1997-2001) is gradually increasing over time,
with no significant differences. This has been considered
as reasonable due to the time difference until the period
of the survey. Nevertheless, there are no significant dif-
ferences according to gender (X2 = 2.99 < 9.49).
Obtaining a bachelor degree final grade does not ap-
pear to play an important role in preventing unemploy-
ment. Nevertheless, only 6% of the unemployed gradu-
ates hold a postgraduate degree. The number of men
among them is significantly higher (X2 = 10.78 > 5.99).
The vast majority (91%) of the unemployed graduates
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The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market
reported that they have worked in the past. No significant
differences according to gender or marital status have
been found (X2 = 3.40 < 3.84 and X2 = 0.08 < 3.84 re-
spectively). More than a third of the unemployed gradu-
ates (35%) were without work for more than 2 years at
the time of the study, 18% was unemployed for 12-24
months, 20% for 6 to 12 months, and the remaining 27%
was unemployed for the last 6 months. The mean dura-
tion of the unemployment period, among the graduates of
the different institutions, varies significantly (from 9 to
24 months). Moreover, there is a correlation with the
specializations offered.
Only 23% of the unemployed graduates with profes-
sional experience were receiving an unemployment ben-
efit at the time of the national survey. The corresponding
time intervals of the unemployment benefit payment are
variable with a high standard deviation.
The majority of unemployed graduates (58%) strive
for a position directly related to their studies, quite a few
(21%) look for any sort of job in order to be employed,
and some others (12%) would like to get a job giving
perspectives to use the knowledge they acquired from
their first degree.
The unemployed handle the same channels for finding
a working position as the ones used by the employed
graduates when seeking for their present job. However,
the degree of their use is quite different. The unemployed,
more frequently, use the services of public services like
GMEO and institutional Career Offices (23% and 4%
versus only 3% and 1% for working graduates respec-
tively), and pay more frequently attention to media an-
nouncements (26% versus 16%). On the other hand, they
have less confidence in participating in examinations
(20% versus 39%).
The principal reason for the lack of employment ap-
pears to be the existing high unemployment in the sector,
being reported by over one third (36%) of the unem-
ployed respondents, followed by the lack of efficient
procedures for approaching the labor market (21%).
Moreover, some secondary reasons, such as a wrong
professional orientation, lack of required specialization,
and inability to follow a full-time job have been reported
too (by 6%, 9%, and 8% of the respondents respectively).
Nearly a fifth of the unemployed graduates (19%) re-
ported other, no specified, reasons.
4.6. Other Issues of Vocational Incorporation
The analysis of graduates’ responses reveals that less
than one third of them (32%) stay in their first work po-
sition showing a significant professional mobility after
graduates’ first employment. For the calculation of the
average waiting time for finding one’s first job, the se-
lected sample was split into two parts; 1) comprising the
graduates that remain in their first job, and 2) the ones
that changed jobs, at least once, since graduation.
From the graduates remaining in their first job, 43%
are men, and 57% women. 16% of them found their pre-
sent job whilst they were still students, and 23% found
their first job during graduation. Women surpass men in
both these sub categories (59% versus 41%, for the ones
who found that job whilst still being a student, and 67%
versus 33%, for the ones who found their first job during
graduation, respectively). The first finding is interesting,
whereas the second is in line with expectations due to the
compulsory military obligations for men. Taking into
account all sub categories, it was calculated that the
mean waiting time for finding one’s first job is 1.6 years
(1.9 years for men, and 1.3 years for women).
Employees who have changed jobs, at least once, were
asked about the waiting time for obtaining their first po-
sition. Their mean waiting time appears to be 9 months
(12 months for men and 7 months for women), revealing
a significant difference in comparison with the previous
category (the one who have stayed in their first job). Two
reasons were found in order to explain this phenomenon.
Firstly, graduates presently working in the public sector
had to wait much longer for finding employment, and in
most cases they stayed in this first position. Secondly,
graduates who have changed jobs over time found their
first position within a shorter time span. The acquisition
of extra professional experience offered them more
chances for getting another (probably better) position.
The mean waiting time for getting one’s first work po-
sition, regardless of the fact whether one has changed
jobs over time, is 12 months; 16 months for men and 10
months for women. The difference between men and
women can safely be attributed to the military obliga-
tions of men (12-15 months at the time of research). Re-
garding the waiting time of graduates from different in-
stitutions, those of central TEI (Athens and Thessaloniki)
are somewhat shorter (15 months for men, and 9 for
women); although not statistically significant.
4.7. Influencing Variables
The most important correlations have been dealt with
above. Table 7 includes the relationships among all the
study variables for all participating graduates. They have
been calculated by means of the Chi-square test using a
0.05 significance level. The first of the three tables in-
cludes the X2 values, the second one reports the critical
values, and the third one goes into the results about the
existence (or not) of significant differences (D stands for
a statistically significant relationship; blank cells denote
independent variables). The correlations between the
study variables concerning the employed graduates only
re presented in Table 8. a
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The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
Table 7. Relationships between all study variables (for all graduates).
X2 values TEI Gender Marital
Type of
status Employment
TEI - 216.6 40.1 1713.0 791.4 434.1 121.6 199.1 103.2
Gender 216.6 - 194.9 62.8 8.5 145.6 51.4 207.4 114.0
Marital status 40.1 194.9 - 22.1 85.6 3.9 59.5 18.2 7.3
Type of lyceum 1713.0 62.8 22.1 - 78.4 73.1 81.3 36.8 24.5
Graduation year 791.4 8.5 85.6 78.4 - 112.5 11.0 12.2 9.1
Degree grade 434.1 145.6 3.9 73.1 112.5 - 55.2 57.2 48.4
studies 121.6 51.4 59.5 81.3 11.0 55.2 - 20.0 6.5
status 199.1 207.4 18.2 36.8 12.2 57.2 20.0 - 4610.0
Employment 103.2 114.0 7.3 24.5 9.1 48.4 6.5 4610.0 -
Critical values TEI Gender Marital
Type of
status Employment
TEI - 16.9 16.9 51.0 51.0 28.9 28.9 40.1 40.1
Gender 16.9 - 3.8 9.5 9.5 6.0 6.0 7.8 7.8
Marital status 16.9 3.8 - 9.5 9.5 6.0 6.0 7.8 7.8
Type of lyceum 51.0 9.5 9.5 - 26.3 15.5 15.5 21.0 21.0
Graduation year 51.0 9.5 9.5 26.3 - 15.5 15.5 21.0 2.0
Degree grade 28.9 6.0 6.0 15.5 15.5 - 9.5 12.6 12.6
Postgraduate studies 28.9 6.0 6.0 15.5 15.5 9.5 - 12.6 12.6
Professional status 40.1 7.8 7.8 21.0 21.0 12.6 12.6 - 16.9
Employment 40.1 7.8 7.8 21.0 21.0 12.6 12.6 16.9 -
dependence (D) TEI Gender Marital
Type of
status Employment
Gender D - D D D D D D
Marital status D D - D D D D I
Type of lyceum D D D - D D D D D
Graduation year D I D D - D I I I
Degree grade D D I D D - D D D
Postgraduate studies D D D D I D - D I
Professional status D D D D I D D - D
Employment D D I D I D I D -
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market
Table 8. Relationships between all study variables (for all employed graduates).
X2 values /
Critical values
Relation with
Way of finding
first job First job Satisfaction
from job Wages Satisfaction from
TEI 338.6 51.00 511.9 72.00 55.1 16.92 184.9 51.00 264.2 40.11 275.651.00
Gender 26.7 9.49 39.2 12.59 0.4 3.84 5.1 9.49 158.8 7.81 21.8 9.49
Marital status 6.8 9.49 13.5 12.59 0.2 3.84 11.4 9.49 14.0 7.81 19.7 9.49
Type of lyceum 35.9 26.30 68.5 36.42 3.0 9.49 30.8 26.30 64.3 21.03 23.4 26.30
Graduation year 25.7 26.30 28.9 36.42 17.8 9.49 23.2 26.30 29.7 21.03 16.9 26.30
Degree grade 95.6 15,51 106.8 21.03 8.9 5.99 27.5 15.51 9.3 12.59 13.7 15.51
Postgraduate studies 31.4 15.51 56.9 21.03 2.7 5.99 24.7 15.51 191.5 12.59 19.8 15.51
Employment 16.4 9.49 103.6 12.59 1.2 3.84 35.3 9.49 341.3 7.81 46.4 9.49
Relation with
studies 0.0 0.00 214.0 36.42 3.0 9.49 1188.126.30 176.3 21.03 106.126.30
Way of finding first
job 214.0 36.42 0.0 0.00 240.512.59 102.5 36.42 490.5 28.87 77.4 36.42
First job 3.0 9.49 240.5 12.59 0.0 0.00 10.2 9.49 0.3 7.81 5.0 9.49
Satisfaction from
job 1188.1 26.30 102.5 36.42 10.2 9.49 0.0 0.00 211.6 21.03 683.126.30
Wages 176.3 21.03 490.5 28.87 0.3 7.81 211.6 21.03 0.0 0.00 754.8 21.03
Satisfaction from
wages 106.1 26.30 77.4 36.42 5.0 9.49 683.1 26.30 754.8 21.03 0.0 0.00
dependence (D)
Relation with
Way of finding
first job First job Satisfaction
from job Wages Satisfaction
from wages
Gender D D I I D D
Marital status I D I D D D
Type of lyceum D D I D D I
Graduation year I I D I D I
Degree grade D D D D I I
Postgraduate studies D D I D D D
Professional status D D I D D D
Employment D D I D D D
Relation with studies - D I D D D
Way of finding first job D - D D D D
First job I D - D I I
Satisfaction from job D D D - D D
Wages D D I D - D
Satisfaction from wages D D I D D -
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSSM
Both tables show that the majority of relationships
among the variables are statistically significant. Never-
theless, the most important factors affecting the main
employment variables appear to be the institution of
graduation (which practically corresponds to graduate’s
specialty), the gender, the degree grade, the acquisition
of a postgraduate degree, and one’s current professional
status. The effects of marital status and type of lyceum
exist, but are considered as having minor importance.
5. Synopsis of Results and Further Research
This paper aimed to present the landscape of the voca-
tional rehabilitation of higher technological education
graduates in Greece. First-born data derived from 11
Technological Educational Institutions of the country and
corresponding to 5183 filled structured questionnaires
were collected and used for the analysis. All main em-
ployment characteristics were examined and commented,
including the identification of the significantly effecting
Regarding the demography of TEI graduates, women
are the majority of them composing 58% of the popula-
tion graduated of years 1997-2001. The mean duration of
studies is 5.5 years, fluctuating significantly among in-
stitutions and specialties. Only 3% of the graduates get
an honors degree. Degree grade is affected by gender
(women are more studious) and specialty. Seven to ele-
ven years after their graduation 11.4% of the graduates
have acquired a postgraduate degree. Gender, marital
status, and degree grade effect significantly the realiza-
tion of postgraduate studies.
Nearly nine out of ten (88.5%) of the graduates cur-
rently work (94% of men and 85% of women). The un-
employment rate is 7.4% (4% for men and 10% for
women), whilst 4.1% of the graduates are inactive; the
corresponding percentage of women being triple than
that of men. These differences between men and women
are statistically significant. The unemployment rate of
TEI graduates is lower than the mean unemployment rate
of higher education graduates of the same age (9.15%)
reported in a large recent labor force survey [23].
The vast majority of the working graduates (81%) are
full time employees. The other categories concentrate
small percentages: only 4% work on part time basis and
15% are self-employed. The proportion of self-employed
men is double than that of women.
The analysis of the relevance between employment
and bachelor studies proves the existence of high het-
ero-employment, as 26% of the graduates report minimal
or small relation between them. The introduced corre-
spondence index has a mean value of 3.59, varying how-
ever significantly among the graduates of the different
institutions of higher education.
Over two thirds (68%) of the presently employed have
changed position since graduation and the mean waiting
time for getting their first job is 9 months. The overall
mean waiting time for first employment is 12 months.
Men wait longer mainly due to military obligations. The
waiting time depends significantly on specialty and uni-
versity geographical location.
Participation in public examinations has been the most
popular channel for getting the present job (used by 40%
of graduates). Other frequently used channels are the use
of acquaintances (24%) and the announcements in media
Undoubtedly women suffer much more than men from
unemployment, constituting 77% of the corresponding
population. The mean unemployment time of the gradu-
ates who have previous working experience is 16 months;
however the average relevant time of the whole popula-
tion is significantly higher reaching 2 years. Only a small
percentage (23%) of this category receives an unem-
ployment benefit. The main reported reasons for being
out of work are the existing high unemployment in the
corresponding specialty and the insufficiency of proce-
dures for approaching the labor market.
The examination of graduates’ characteristics affecting
more significantly and interpreting the status and the
quality of their vocational rehabilitation gave some in-
teresting results. The variables affecting more signifi-
cantly the finding of work are gender and postgraduate
education; men and master degree holders have more
chances of getting a job. The kind of employment is in-
terpreted statistically by degree grade, gender and spe-
cialty. The level of the monthly salary is interpreted by
gender, postgraduate studies and specialty. These three
variables effect more significantly (and positively) than
all the others the degree of relevance between studies and
The practical implications of this work are related to
the fact that the labor market is presently a tough track
with high competition, and are addressed to the higher
education graduates and to the institutions from which
they obtained their bachelor degree. In order to improve
their chances for prompt and satisfactory employment,
the graduates should be well equipped having initially
succeeded as lyceum graduates to enter to a department
providing a promising specialty with relatively high de-
mand, and get later a very good bachelor degree mark, as
well as good knowledge of foreign languages. Also the
continuation of bachelor studies for the acquisition of a
postgraduate degree is definitely a well advised action in-
creasing the employment possibilities. On the other hand,
the institutions should equip their students with all the
knowledge required from the market in order to prepare
them for a smooth and fruitful entrance to the market.
The Incorporation of Graduates from Higher Technological Education into the Labor Market
Regarding further relevant work we suggest that this
type of research should be repeated frequently for the
identification of any changes in the landscape of gradu-
ates’ employment. The time interval elapsed between
two successive collections and analyses of first-born data
should not exceed three to four years. Other interesting,
worth exploring aspects are a thorough statistical analysis
of the factors defining the main characteristics of gradu-
ates’ vocational socialization, as well as a comparison
among the higher education graduates among different
European countries.
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