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Study reveals mismatch between qualifications and market needs in Mozambique

Tracer study suggests Mozambique’s economy is not generating enough demand for employees with a university-level education, and that students are often poorly aware of career paths and what different jobs require. First published in November 2019, the study is now available in both English and Portuguese.

Final report  |  Relatório final

Over 2000 final-year university students from across Mozambique’s six largest universities participated in a survey that traced students’ career pathways after graduation. Carried out between March 2017 and September 2019, the survey aimed to map the participants’ experiences of entering the labour market, and to gain a better understanding of the factors affecting their success in securing good employment.

Highlights from the survey results:

  • Graduates’ entry into the labour market is seldom smooth or linear – There was much variation in the economic and employment status of the surveyed graduates over time.
  • Underemployment and unemployment are common – While most graduates were able to find jobs, many of these were of low quality, with little security and low pay, and some graduates had to pay for their job. 18 months after graduation, 23% of graduates were unemployed.
  • There is an area-of-study mismatch – Most graduates were not able to find employment related to their fields of study. However, there is variation between study areas: for example, graduates with a background in education or health were more likely find jobs in a relevant field than graduates with expertise in industry or in the agricultural sector.
  • Women face more difficulties than men in entering the labour market – Women had to look for a job for longer and had lower median earnings than their male counterparts with the same educational background.
  • Graduates face disappointment of unmet expectations – For example, many found their salaries to be lower than expected. While most believe their education to have been worthwhile, half consider their current job not to require a university degree.
  • Formal channels and services to help graduates find work are not sufficiently used – Jobs were found mainly using informal channels and personal networks.

Sam Jones, Research Fellow at UNU-WIDER, says: 'Through its results, the tracer study aims to assist universities and policymakers identify what information and actions are needed to ensure that higher education investments can be used most productively in the labour market.'

The data from the survey will be made available online by the end of 2020. The Survey of school-to-work transitions of university graduates is part of the Inclusive growth in Mozambique – scaling up research and capacity programme, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.