The Direction de l'évaluation et de la prospective (DEP) of the French Ministry of Education, which drew attention in 2001 to the risk of a shortfall in graduates from higher education, has just revised its forecasts, with the help of the Bureau d'informations et de prévisions économiques (BIPE).
The earlier evaluation assumed an average economic growth rate of 3% per year from now until 2015. Given the present lower expected growth rate, the DEP has revised its calculations and, according to a variety of macroeconomic scenarios, provides new forecasts for the total demand for young graduates up to 2015, then broken down by professional categories and level of qualification.
The scenarios are based on hypotheses as to the rate of economic growth (1.5% or 2% per year), the degree of upward mobility of those in jobs, the balance of hiring by firms from young graduates straight from education as against from the pool of unemployed, and lastly the level of qualification required of young graduates according to the type of jobs on offer.
The results show, on average, far fewer young people being hired between 2002 and 2015 than the numbers expected to graduate from higher education, and this is true regardless of the combination of assumptions.
The worst of the mismatch between supply and demand will affect the least well qualified, who will probably have considerable problems in finding jobs. This exercise has thus reached a very different conclusion from the earlier one (in 2001), which forecast a shortfall of graduates between now and 2010.