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FEATURE STORY

University Graduates and Employment in Tunisia

February 1, 2010


February 2010 - This report is the second part of a follow up survey on the insertion of young university graduates in active life, initiated by the Ministry of Employment and Professional insertion of youth and the World Bank. This study is articulated around three parts which analyze the type of professional paths followed, the situation when facing employment then unemployment, and the way each is determined respectively.

The position of the university graduates for the year 2004 in the employment market has clearly improved 

The global employment rate has gone from 43% in 2005 to 63% in 2007. Even though unemployment scaled down 7 points (around 9% in 2007), it remains nonetheless at a preoccupying level towards the end of 2007: it still concerns about 29% of university graduates three years and a half after their graduation.

The diploma and the majoring theme are determinant factors in terms of insertion

When compared to the first survey, engineers continue to improve their position with an average rate of 76% as salaried employee. Bachelor degree students and senior technicians are at about 50% of salaried employees with an insertion improvement for university graduates with a bachelor degree in economy and management, whereas senior technicians are still affected by unemployment.

The report also indicates that apart from the diploma, gender remains an influent feature for professional insertion where it is proven that a married man has 27% more chances of being highered than a married woman.

Main professional paths of university graduates highlighted through the second survey:

A first path leading to employment stability concerns 30% of the graduates and only occurs after a 6 month to a year period of time,

Then, the path of persistent unemployment concerns 24% of the graduates three years after the end of their studies, against 39% eighteen months later,

A third path of those who return to unemployment (13%) characterized of repeating phases alternating with an employment period

Finally the strategy for 13%, after 2004, is to follow up on their studies

The improvement of the university graduates employment rate nevertheless conceals important disparities, particularly the difference in the employment rate between men and women respectively of 55% and 71%.

The Public sector, the main employer

With monthly net salaries being clearly higher than that of the private sector, the public sector continues to be the traditional employer of university graduates with 55% of salaried employees. The role of the private sector which generates 45% of salaried employees remains significant. In terms of security and stability of employment, the favorite employment mode for the private companies is the term appointments which concerns 40% of salaried graduates of the private sector.

A dropping unemployment rate

In general, the unemployment rate of the 2004 batch of university graduates has lowered from 45.6% at the end of 2005 to 31.5% at the end of 2007, although one fifth of the most important portion of university graduates, i.e. graduates with bachelor degrees and senior technicians do not have any employment sequences three years and a half after their graduation, against 10% of engineers.

Report conclusions

If there is a clear improvement of the university graduates positioning in the employment market, there remains an insertion difficulty for a “hard core” number of graduates.

Women experience a less favorable situation then men in the employment market whatever the criteria.

The Public sector continues to be the most attractive employer for university graduates.

Most of the working university graduates experience a lack of stability in their professional paths. 23% of youth in the private sector do not even have a contract.

 


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