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The academic campaign

One of the initiatives supported by DSF to reduce graduate unemployment is the academic-campaign.

The aim of the academic-campaign is to shed light on highly educated people’s value to Danish enterprises and to support the bridge between the academic world and business life. The campaign is sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Employment to run throughout 2012 and 2013.

The campaign targets small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that do not already employ highly educated people. Through company visits the campaign-consultants help the enterprise to explore how highly educated employees might benefit their business.

If an enterprise sees the benefits but lacks the sufficient resources to employ a highly educated person, the academic-campaign helps the enterprise to make use of one of the Danish subsidy schemes supporting enterprises to employ highly educated people.

Recently the academic-campaign published its achievements from early 2012 to summer 2013. So forth the academic-campaign seems to success in its attempt to open up new areas of employment to highly educated people: 83% of all SMEs involved in the academic-campaign confirm to be more positive towards hiring highly educated employees as a result of the campaign.

Furthermore the findings from 1½ years of campaigning shows that enterprises in many trade areas where highly educated people are not traditionally employed, after having met the academic campaign, are much more prone to employ a highly educated person.

For instance: 30% of the involved enterprises within the field of energy-supply, after having met with the academic-campaign either employed a highly-educated person or intend to do it. The same number within the field of accommodation and foodservice is 33%.

The SMEs usually employ highly educated people to tasks within marketing and communication. The specific competences demanded vary from trade to trade. For instance, in the construction industry highly educated people are typically employed in positions also dealing with IT, quality assurance, customers and energy calculations, whereas an enterprise within the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries might ask for competencies within social media, web and HR.

But although the academic-campaign helps SMEs to realise how they might prosper from employing highly educated people with many different specialisations, not all educations are equally qualifying to find a job through the academic-campaign. 24% of the highly educated people to find employment through the academic campaign have a degree in business economic. The same number for highly educated people within the field of communication is 19%, and likewise for people with a background in IT. On the other hand the academic-campaign has a much harder time employing people with a law, librarian or science degree.

Another potential issue for the academic-campaign in relation to graduate unemployment is that it doesn’t directly target the problem. By generally working with unemployment amongst highly educated, there’s no guarantee that the campaign helps to decrease unemployment rates amongst graduates. However by focusing on unemployed graduates and the specific obstacles related to their situation, the academic-campaign might prove an effective tool to help newly educated to enter the labour market. DSF would very much like to see such an initiative coming from the academic-campaign, with all the experience already obtained by working with unemployment amongst highly educated.

For more information about the campaign, visit www.akademikerkampagnen.dk(external link) or see www.akademikerkampagnen.dk/media/30962/akademikerkampagnens_resultater_.pptx for the specific results referred to in this article.