Academic journal article European Research Studies

University-Business Cooperation Current Situation in Slovakia and Europe

Academic journal article European Research Studies

University-Business Cooperation Current Situation in Slovakia and Europe

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Youth unemployment is a serious problem that European Union faces at the moment. In June 2012, 5,472 million young people (under 25) were unemployed in the EU-27. Compared with June 2011, youth unemployment increased by 227,000 in the EU-27. In June 2012, the youth unemployment rate was 22.6 % in the EU-27. In June 2011 it was 21.2 %. In Slovakia the youth unemployment is much above the average of European Union. At the end of 2011 it reached 33.8 % (Hall, 2012). During the global economic crisis it is still more challenging to find a job even for the university graduates. According to the survey of British government, the UK university graduates are just as likely to be unemployed as school leavers with only secondary education. In Slovakia, the unemployment of university graduates is approximately 30%2. The employers prefer employees with previous work experience which the recent graduates often do not have. Cooperation between companies and universities could help to prevent and solve this problem. The goal of this article is to point at the level of business-university cooperation in Slovakia, find out the reasons of current situation and propose suggestions to improve it.

2. City University / Vysoka Skola Manazmentu (School of Management) in Bratislava Survey

We conveyed the survey among companies in a period of four months (April-July 2011). The questionnaire was distributed by email to more than 3,540 Slovak employers with the response rate of 8%. The employers were asked what factors they judge while hiring new employees and could select education, work experience, language skills, computer skills, international experience, membership in various organizations, volunteering, salary requirements of the applicant and others. We concentrated on work experience as the most important factor for the employers. Lack of work experience is also one of the main reasons why recent graduates do not succeed on the labour market. 49.8 % of employers consider work experience as very important in the process of hiring new employees. Only 4.1 % of them consider work experience as not important or somewhat important. Complete results of the survey are shown in the Table 1.

According to the survey employers consider work experience very much. They prefer employees with work experience more than employees with higher education. Employers were asked to evaluate their opinion on the statement: "I prefer higher educated applicants rather than more experienced applicants". The Table 2 clearly shows that work experience is more important than the level of education. 79 % of them disagreed that they do prefer higher education rather than work experience.

Besides distribution the questionnaires to employers, we also conveyed the survey among students and teachers. The questionnaire was distributed by email to more than 7,818 teachers employed at the Slovak universities, and more than 9,020 students studying at the Slovak universities with the response rate of 20.23 % in case of teacher respondents and 15.61% in case of student respondents. They were asked whether the recent university graduates are adequately prepared to succeed on the labour market. The results are show in Table 3.

In the Table 3 we can see a slight discrepancy in the view of companies, teachers and students. While teachers are rather optimistic (76.7 % of them think that students are well prepared for the needs of labour market), companies are more pessimistic as only 41.5 % of them think that students are well prepared to succeed on the labour market. Among the students 56.6 % consider their university preparation as adequate, while 34.4 % think that they are not adequately prepared for the labour market.

3. University-Business Cooperation

In the survey we found out that employers prefer experienced applicants and they think that graduates are not well prepared to succeed on the labour market. …

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