An increasing number of university graduates have turned in recent years, amid the financial crisis and high unemployment, to studies offered by vocational training institutes (IEK), which had hitherto been relatively shunned.
Research conducted by the General Confederation of Greek Workers’ Center for the Development of Educational Policy (KANEP-GSEE) has shown that, compared to a decade ago, the number of professionals who seek further training while holding a university degree has increased almost fivefold.
More specifically, in 2020 23.9% of IEK graduates had previously studied at a university or technical college (TEI), while in 2012 the corresponding percentage was 5.2%.
Of this 23.9% in 2020, 4.8% had a master’s or doctoral degree compared to 0.5% in 2012. The 10 most popular specializations were chef, hospitality worker, beautician, child carer, physical therapist, hairdresser, baker-confectioner, sports coach, pharmacy assistant and computer applications technician.
IEK graduates stated that the criteria governing their choice of specialty were improving their wider social skills, the acquisition of more formal qualifications, specialization in their vocation, but also getting easier access to the job market
As the number of those who completed higher education and sought further training at an IEK has increased, the average age of students in IEK has also risen in tandem. According to the data, the average age of IEK graduates is 33.1 years old, significantly higher that 28.1 in the 2012 survey.
Also telling is the decline in the percentage of unmarried graduates and those still living with their parents (from 71.3% in 2012 to 36.4%).
At the same time, there is a significant increase in the number of those who declared they are married, with their percentage among IEK graduates increasing by 137.5%.
Friends and social networks in general remain the main way graduates managed to find a job, although these rates are lower in the 2020 survey compared to the one in 2012, giving way to other avenues such as ads, the submission of a CV but also participation in state competitions. The latter route to a job has jumped from 4.1% in 2012 to 17.1% in 2020 due to the fact recruitments in the public sector have started again.