The job placement of university students has improved in the last decade, with an increase in their employment of 58%

The unemployment rate of young university students falls by more than half, from 29.

The job placement of university students has improved in the last decade, with an increase in their employment of 58%

The unemployment rate of young university students falls by more than half, from 29.2% to 12.5%, and 91% of their jobs are highly qualified


Between 2013 and 2023, 437,000 net new jobs have been created for young people between 22 and 29 years old, of which 79% (345,800) have been occupied by university students in that age group, which shows a growth in the employment of young university students of the 58% in the last ten years.

Furthermore, the increase has been even greater in the case of highly qualified positions, which account for 91% of these jobs for young university students (315,000) and have grown by 76% in the same period.

This is one of the main conclusions of the study 'Labor insertion of university students: 2013-2023', which has just been published by the BBVA Foundation and the Ivie, framed in the U-Ranking project, which analyzes the evolution of the labor insertion of university graduates and their characteristics over the last ten years, and reveals substantial improvements in the employability of young people with this type of higher education.

The study highlights that the job placement results of young university students have traditionally been better than those of young people as a whole, but the advantages have increased significantly in the last decade, a period in which job creation in Spain has been very intense (23%).

Thus, the data reflect a sharp decrease in the unemployment rate of this group, which has fallen from 29.2% in 2013 to 12.5% ​​in 2023. They also show a reduction in the percentage of young people with a university degree who are underemployed, that is, they occupy jobs that do not correspond to their training, which has gone from 30% to 22% in that same period.

The report, prepared by Ivie researchers, Francisco Pérez and Joaquín Aldás, in collaboration with the institute's technicians, Irene Zaera and Rodrigo Aragón, analyzes factors that can influence insertion such as the studies completed, sex, if also studied a master's degree and the ownership of the university (public or private).

In the last ten years, the labor market has experienced a net employment creation of 3.9 million jobs and in this context, the promotion of employment of young university students in highly qualified occupations (includes directors and managers, technicians, scientific and support professionals and intellectuals), whose volume has increased by 76% since 2013.

On the other hand, the number of university students between 22 and 29 years old has grown by 27%, which increases the supply of young people who have the qualification profile required by many of the new positions created. The result of these dynamics of demand and supply has allowed the number of young employed university students to increase by almost 58% in ten years, with the creation of 345,800 new jobs in the period.

"This is a growth rate that almost triples that registered in the total employment of young people, which grows significantly but much less (20.4%). In fact, the new positions occupied by university students represent 79% of the total jobs that young people between 22 and 29 years old have accessed in the last decade," the study reiterates.

Three quarters of this job creation are concentrated in five sectors of activity: professional, scientific and technical activities (23%), health activities and social services (21%), information and communications (12%), manufacturing industry (11%) and education (9%). 82% of the 315,000 highly qualified jobs created between 2013 and 2023 for young university students are concentrated in these five sectors.

By branch of activity, university students in health sciences and engineering and architecture continue to enjoy better job placement, especially due to their higher employment percentages and higher salaries, while those in arts and humanities face greater difficulties .

Another factor that contributes to the improvement of some aspects of job placement is to extend one's studies with a master's degree. These graduates have doubled their weight in the total number of university students, going from representing 22% in 2013 to 42% in 2022.

The advantages of master's degree holders over bachelor's degrees are observed, above all, in the adjustment of the job to the level of studies completed and in the salaries obtained.

77.1% of graduates with a master's degree have been employed in a position in which they are quoted in the group of university graduates, while this percentage is 61.9% among degree graduates. Thus, the average contribution base for master's degrees is 11% higher than that of graduates.

The ownership of the university (public or private) is another factor that has been taken into account in the analysis, since university students from private centers are ahead of those who study at public universities in some aspects in terms of job placement.

Specifically, four years after graduating, graduates from private universities exceed those from public universities by 12 percentage points in the percentage of employees whose jobs match the studies completed (72.2% compared to 59.9% ). Furthermore, the contribution bases of graduates who come from private centers are 12% higher than those of students from public universities (32,433 euros per year, compared to 29,006 euros).

The study also analyzes the differences in job placement opportunities depending on the sex of the graduate. Women currently represent 57% of undergraduate and master's students.

The vast majority of women is observed in four of the five major branches of study, being more pronounced in health sciences (72%-28%), but they are a minority in engineering and architecture (27%-73%).

Women represent 61% of employed people between 22 and 29 years old with university studies. If the female presence in highly qualified jobs is considered, young university women represent 59%, a percentage somewhat lower than their weight in total employment, a result of the lower accumulated growth of women's qualified occupations between 2013 and 2023.

Finally, the study concludes that highly qualified employment for young university students grew by an average of 76% over the period as a whole, with a growth of 92.2% in the case of men and 66.3% in women. women.

Starting in 2020, growth accelerates in women, which has led to substantial new qualified employment opportunities for women. In total, of the 315,000 new highly qualified jobs created in the decade for young university students, women have occupied 173,000 (55%).

On the contrary, women present worse data in their contribution bases (salary gap), in the percentage of part-time jobs and in the percentage of permanent contracts (except in the branches of sciences and arts and humanities).

In the most detailed analysis of the salary gap by qualifications, the study reveals that men earn more than women in 74 of the 92 fields of study for which information is available on average contribution bases for both sexes. In 57 of these fields the salary difference is greater than 1,000 euros per year in favor of men.