The sixth edition of the Universidad del Valle de México’s (UVM) "National Alumni Survey" pointed to changes in occupation and income, as recent graduates are increasingly opting for self-employment. The pandemic also led to an increase in employment opportunities for health and education graduates.
"The first visible change is that in the search to mitigate unemployment, university graduates decided to start their working life as self-employed: the percentage of those who were employed either as independent professionals or through a business venture in this year's edition of the ENE, grew more than in other years," said Adriana Rico Villanueva, Coordinator of the Public Opinion Center, UVM.
The survey shows that 22.4 percent of self-employed professionals and 21.8 percent of those who own their own businesses consider that the health crisis positively impacted their income. However, private companies had the highest percentage of employability with 48.3 percent, followed by public companies or institutions with 33.6 percent, while 12.7 percent of graduates chose to start their businesses.
The study points to a significant change in the preference of graduates to become independent professionals, a choice taken by 32.9 percent of those surveyed in 2022. In 2021, this figure represented 27.6 percent, while in 2020, it represented 21 percent.
The pandemic impacted the pockets of families in Mexico, affecting how university studies were financed. Of the surveyed, 21.2 percent financed their studies through work, an increase of 5.2 percent compared to the 2020 edition. About 27 percent reported they financed their studies through contributions from graduates and parents. Remarkably. graduates who had their students fully financed by their parents decreased from 50 percent in 2020 to 40.9 percent.
Graduates also reported on the difficulties in obtaining their first job: 11.4 percent mentioned that it was effortless, 39.7 percent said that it was easy, 40 percent said that it was difficult and 9 percent said that it was complicated. Among the main setbacks in finding the first job, 45.6 percent mentioned not having the required experience or internships, 20.6 percent mentioned the lack of vacancies in their area of study and 16.5 percent mentioned low salaries or no benefits.
Lastly, the study reported on gender inequality in the labor sector. For example, while 54.8 percent of men have experience in a private sector company, this percentage drops to 42.3 percent for women. On the other hand, 20.1 percent of women indicate that they have no work experience, while for men, the rate drops to 11 percent. A higher percentage of women are at a disadvantage compared to their male counterparts.