Only 1.01 percent of the 1,781 graduates surveyed for Beyond Graduation Survey (BGS) 2017 report indicated that they are currently employed.

Labour ministry initiated the survey to profile and assess post-graduation outcome and perception of the graduate pool entering the labour market.

The respondents were 78.8 percent of the graduates who attended the National Graduates Orientation Programme in 2017.

However, the report said that this was expected since the orientation is conducted a few months after the graduation and the majority were graduates of 2017 (92.14 percent).

According to the report, 95.16 percent of graduates said they are actively seeking employment. The survey also indicated that 133 out of 139 who graduated in the previous year were not employed.

The report stated that policymakers and tertiary education stakeholders for necessary HRD intervention in employment and education sectors could use the findings.

As per the report, corporations have been the major employer. Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) announced only 494 vacancies in 2017 against 796 graduates in 2012. This constitutes employment opportunities to about 11.1 percent of the graduates entering the labour market in 2017.

“Despite the fact that majority of graduate would prefer to work in government jobs, they are considering other employment options,” the report stated. “Increasing number of graduates is looking at employment prospect not only within Bhutan but also overseas.”

Some of the reasons expressed by the respondents for not getting the job were because of their low academic performance, lack of skills and experience, and tough competition.

The report also claimed graduates feel that many vacancies are available and they are positive about finding employment of their choice.

An assessment was also brought to fore the degree of satisfaction of graduates on their choice of a degree programme, which the report indicated that majority of the in-country graduates are more satisfied (63.45 percent) compared to the ex-country graduates (59.35 percent).

Graduates who pursued science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degree have a higher degree of satisfaction with their courses, the report says.

The 2013 and 2014 BGS indicates that majority of the graduates chose government jobs as their first preference, followed by other sectors, which was similar even among the graduate pool of 2017.

The report stated that 80 percent of the graduates chose government sector as their first preference of work, followed by jobs in corporations and NGOs. Only 28.1 percent indicated self-employment or employment in private sector as their first choice.

Some of the factors that graduates looked while seeking employment were high salary, job security, training opportunities, good working condition, company’s reputation, job relevancy to the graduate’s course, and interest in the field of work and others.

The survey found that majority (42.7 percent) indicated that job security was an important determinant in finding employment followed by indicated good working condition, job relevance, and interest in the field/work.

The respondents said that the different options they would resort to until they find a job would be starting up their own business, helping with family or household work, undertaking training or internship to find other opportunities, taking up further studies, or staying unemployed.

The survey indicated that only 6.1 percent of graduates had undergone some kind of training to find employment from labour, internship programs, direct employment scheme, entrepreneurship training programme, skills training, and career counselling.

“Many recommended funding support from government to undertake skilling of their choice,” report stated. “Others indicated support in training and skills development programme.”

The report also stated that the perception and preference of the graduates over the last four years had not changed significantly and there was a need for effort from the tertiary educational institution, parents and stakeholders.

Yangchen C Rinzin