Bavarian Graduate Panel (BAP)
A project of Bavaria for its higher education institutions and students
Bavaria is the first of the 16 federal states of Germany (Länder) to carry out regular surveys among the graduates of its universities and universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) about their labour market entry and
further professional development, study conditions and the acquisition of competences. The Bavarian Graduate Panel (BAP) analyses differences, trends und developments to inform students, institutions and policies.
Benefits of the BAP at a glance
Regional and close to higher education institutions
In each wave, a complete cohort of graduates of Bavarian higher education institutions is surveyed. Most of the larger fields are included. The data is therefore representative for Bavaria as well as for each institution. Results can be compared to nationally representative data, e.g. the graduate surveys of the Hochschul-Informations-System (HIS) GmbH Hannover.
Participating higher education institutions (in German) >> more
Subjects and degrees covered (in German) >> more
Scientific and independent
The BAP is run by the Bavarian State Institute for Higher Education Research and Planning (IHF). An academic board ensures that data collection and analyses follow highest scientific standards and are free from political influence or economic pressure.
Effective and precise
Results are made available to the public as soon as possible upon data collection. Medium and form of presentation are targeted at the information needs of various interested groups in higher education and delivered directly to them via presentations, reports and brochures. Detailed causal or longitudinal analyses are carried out upon demand in cooperation with higher education institutions and other interested parties.
Sustainable and long-term
To follow trends and developments, graduates are surveyed for the first time about one and a half year upon graduation, and a second time after about five years. In regular intervals, new graduates are surveyed for a first, and later for a second and third time. The close attachment of the project to the Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences, Research and the Arts (Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst, StMWFK) allows for continuous and cumulative research over many years.
Central questions of the first survey (about 1.5 years upon graduation):
- Labour market entry: How long does it take to find employment after graduation? What do people do in between? What problems do graduates encounter; which search strategies are successful?
- Early labour market success: What do first employments look like (e.g. professional position, income, status, adequacy, satisfaction)? Who faces obstacles, whose labour market integration runs smoothly and what does this depend upon?
- Evaluation of study conditions and competences: What strengths and weaknesses of higher education can be identified? What is the contribution of higher education to subject-specific and general competences?
Central questions of the second survey (about 4.5 years upon graduation):
- Further careers and balance of work with other life domains
- Further educational activities
- Deferred labour market entry of those who pursue doctoral degrees or other further qualifications
In addition, selected topics are explored in depth in individual analyses:
- Labour market entry of Bavarian graduates with a Bachelor degree
- Professional experience before graduation
- Regional mobility after graduation
Why a regional graduate panel?
In recent years, reforms in higher education have increased the autonomy of higher education institutions to manage their own affairs. In turn, they are expected to assume more responsibility for adequately preparing their graduates for professional life. Also, one of the criteria used in programme accreditation is that higher education institutions have to demonstrate that they think about the labour-market relevance of studies. When tuition fees are introduced, students too increasingly demand an education that will be useful on the labour market. However, little data is available at regional or institutional level that can shed light on the transition to work and what a Land or higher education institution can do to facilitate it. Since the establishment of the BAP in 2005, three other Länder have set up similar far-reaching projects.
Organisational structure of the BAP
A scientific board of advisors supports the BAP team with strategic, thematic and methodological advice. It consists of six experts from the field of survey research on education and work:
Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Blossfeld (University of Bamberg)
Prof. Dr. Andrea Abele-Brehm (University of Nürnberg)
In the BAP Working Group, the project leaders of the BAP work together with planners and administrators from participating higher education institutions. A delegate of each participating higher education institution assumes responsibility for the administration of the survey in his or her institution (providing addresses, mailing questionnaires etc.) and gives advice in matters of practical organisation.
How the BAP is carried out
The BAP is a standardised questionnaire that comes in a paper-and-pencil and in an online-version. Invitations, questionnaires and reminder postcards are sent to graduates by the participating institutions. In the case of undeliverable letters, the whereabouts of the graduate are investigated and the letter is sent out again. For the second survey, participants give their consent to have their address stored at the IHF. To maintain contact, they receive mail in regular intervals, informing them about results.
The Bavarian state official for data protection has confirmed that contents and methods of the BAP are in accordance with all requirements of the Bavarian data security law (see 22nd report 2006 of the Bavarian state official for data protection).