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C. Torres-Machí1, A. Dahan2, V. Yepes1, E. Pellicer1

1Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
2Ecole des Ponts - Paris Tech (FRANCE)
Recent reforms undertaken in the higher education system of the European countries through the Bologna process have ensured comparability of undergraduate degrees. One advantage of this process is an easier mobility of young professionals among European countries. This is particularly important in the current economic scenario, in which young professionals encounter difficulties to start their professional career. In light of this scenario, the authors of this paper aim to identify and compare the difficulties perceived by undergraduate students in civil engineering to enter the labor market. Data for this study were collected by a questionnaire survey completed by 469 Spanish and French students enrolled in undergraduate degrees in civil engineering. Based on this data, statistical analyses based on principal components, as well as analysis of variance, were undertaken. In this analysis, 21 possible barriers perceived by students to enter the job market were analyzed and reduced to six principal components: government’s economic policy, graduate intrinsic barriers, excess of graduates, structure and characteristics of the labor market, globalization of work and training gaps. The analysis of variance found statistically significant differences in the perception of these barriers between Spanish and French students. The former gave more importance to extrinsic and global barriers such as the government’s policies and the structure of the labor market. On the other hand, French students focused on specific barriers such as training gaps and intrinsic internal barriers related, among others, to their preference for only well-paid jobs.