Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Third International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Reasons for the poor employability of the first degree in students’ perceptions
Cristina Sin, Orlanda Tavares

Last modified: 29-05-2017


The reduction of the first degree in Portugal, driven by the Bologna reforms, has resulted in a perceived loss of its value in the society and the labour market. The implementation of the reforms coincided with the severe economic crisis and the job scarcity currently affecting the labour market. This paper aims to investigate student perceptions of the reasons why they consider the first degree insufficient. Is it because students really feel unprepared for the labour market as a result of the shorter first degree or is it because of the widespread perception in the society that the first degree is insufficient? In other words, is the poor employability of the first degree perceived as being determined by individual inability or by an external scepticism about its value? Findings suggest that, for students, the first degree is not enough mostly because of their individual inability to respond to labour market needs and less because of public scepticism about the degree’s worth. Therefore, students apparently see themselves as the key agents, emphasising their own responsibility for employability and the individual factors behind the employability concept, although the latter are somewhat balanced by external factors under the weight of the economic crisis.

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