Employers’ Satisfaction Survey Where 50 IT-related Companies Contributed

From November 2016 to May 2017 Psience, together with Estonian Information Technology Foundation for Education and ICT Cluster, conducted a survey that aimed to assess the employers’ satisfaction. We wanted to know how satisfied are the employers with the skills and knowledge level of the workers who have recently graduated from an IT curriculum. Altogether 133 interviews were carried out. This means that 70 graduates and 63 representatives of companies participated in the survey from 50 different enterprises.

Which curriculums were given feedback in the satisfaction survey?

Seven different curriculums were included in the scope of the satisfaction survey. In order to have a better overview of the current state of the curriculums, we interviewed both the graduates themselves and the representatives of their current employers, e.g. CEO-s, direct superiors, mentors, colleagues etc. This gave us opportunity to understand better how well does the knowledge and technical skills required in the IT job market match to what is taught in universities. These seven curriculums were the following: Computer Science bachelor’s and master’s in Tartu University and Tallinn University of Technology, Computer and Systems Engineering master’s in Tallinn University of Technology, and two joined curriculums of both of the aforementioned universities, Software Engineering and Cyber Security master’s. The results of this survey will be used as an input for the further development of these IT curriculums.

About two thirds of the graduates worked as programmers or software developers. This means the feedback reflects the employers’ satisfaction mainly regarding these positions. Many employers brought out in the interviews that often person’s previous experience, examples of completed projects, professional interests and the personal characteristics have a bigger impact during the recruitment process than obtained education.

Despite the differences between curriculums, we found that the main expectations towards the graduates were very similar – the graduate is mainly expected to have basic knowledge and skills in software engineering, also programming and communication are relevant skills.

What were the results of the satisfaction survey?

The results reveal that the employers are mostly satisfied with the overall level of the graduates who have come to work with them. Nevertheless, one of the biggest challenges is to find good workers and the process of finding the right people may be time consuming and stressful. The employers were more satisfied with the knowledge and skills of the master programmes’ graduates. Understandably, this could be caused by the fact that the master’s diploma holders have also longer working experience. Practical working experience and suitable personal qualities are highly valued by the employers when assessing satisfaction with their employees, but they understand that it is hard for university to teach these things.

Most of the graduates who participated in this survey had had working experience during their time of studies. Thus, we can see that the employer’s contribution into the training of new workers is equally important with the universities. There were some recommendations in the survey report concerning the development of collaboration between universities and enterprises. For example, offering internship, lectures given by the practitioners, introducing different roles in the IT industry etc.

What we found from the satisfaction survey?

From the side of survey project team, we see that the key to better education quality lies within the cooperation. This means that the companies must be ready to offer different opportunities for the students, and universities should try to be as flexible as possible – so that the students could combine their work, private life and studying in the best possible way. This will lead to motivated students who would be interested in graduating while gaining valuable working experience.

Want to know more about the satisfaction survey?

The results and the reports are all available on the homepage of Information Technology Foundation for Education: http://hitsa.ee/ikt-haridus/uuringud/tooandjate-rahulolu-ikt-oppekavadel-korgkooli-lopetajate-oskustega/2017-aasta-tooandjate-ja-lopetajate-rahulolu-uuring.  However, these materials are only in Estonian.

The project team thanks all the companies that were ready to contribute to the survey! Thank you, Aedes Web Solutions, Andmevara, Bauhub, ByteLife Solutions, Citadele banka, Clarified Security, Columbus Eesti, Cybernetica, Defendec, eAgronom, Eesti Energia, ERR, Finestmedia, Fortumo, Fujitsu Estonia, Guardtime, Helmes, IB Krates, Icefire, Kühne+Nagel, LHV, Microsoft, MindTitan, Mobi Lab, Mooncascade, NATO Küberkaitsekoostöö Keskus, Neocard, Net Group, Pipedrive, Playtech, Plumbr, Pocopay, Reach-U, RIK, RGRD, SaleMove, SEB, SK ID Solutions, Skype, SMIT, Stoneridge Electronics, Swedbank, Zero Technologies, ZeroTurnaround, Taxify, Telia Eesti, Tieto, TitanGrid, TrasferWise, TripleDev, T-Grupp, WillowTree.

Additional information:
Liset Marleen Pak
Project manager