About the Data and Other Sources for This Special Publication

This interactive special publication was created using as a base the analysis of a database which contains the number of graduates from public and private colleges in 107 careers. It also includes the absolute and relative figures of unemployment and of graduates working in areas not related to each profession, the gender of students and the average wages for people with a bachelor’s.

The figures were supplied by the Profession Labor Observatory (OLAP in Spanish), a body affiliated to the National Council of Rectors (CONARE in Spanish), which in 2013 focused on investigating employment in 76,741 people who graduated between 2008 and 2010.

With that information, the La Nación’s Data Intelligence Unit figured other variables to strengthen the investigation and the visualization of data which are today presented to readers in Web and mobile versions.

In the first place, 2,307 people were excluded because in the CONARE investigation they had stated that they did not want to work on personal or training grounds.

Thus, the population base used by this daily to determining unemployment and employment in non-related fields was 74,434.

In addition, each of the 107 careers was classified within a large study area (Economy, Engineering, Health, Education, Arts and Letters, Basic Sciences, Social Sciences, and Food and Livestock Sciences).

The average unemployment was estimated for each area in order to establish how well or badly, in relation to this indicator, the careers which are part of it are doing. Unemployment per career was also compared to the 9.4% unemployment recorded at the national level in 2013, according to the Continuous Employment Survey of the National Statistics and Census Institute.

Thus, all of those professions above the 9.4% national indicator (19 careers) were classified as having "high unemployment".

Another 24 were labeled as “middle unemployment”; their unemployment is above the 5.05% which prevails among college graduates. Those with “low unemployment” number 64 and are under the 5.05% general rate.

The 107 careers were also classified according to the number of graduates: those with more than 1,000 from 2008 to 2010; the ones with between 999 and 300 graduates; and those with under 299 graduates.

That parameter was useful to analyze, separately, unemployment and the chances of getting a job in those careers which most attract college students. The conclusions appear in the first installment of this special publication. (Nurses and accountants graduate and are almost sure to get a job right away).

Interviews. The intention of this article was going beyond figures and presenting the reader with an outlook that is as close as possible to the one college graduates face when entering the labor market.

To that end, 38 sources were interviewed in order to put what the numbers revealed in a proper context. As an example, understanding why if all of the nurses who graduate have a job, their salaries (¢500,000) are the fourth lower among the 17 careers in the Health Area.

Only through interviews was it possible to conclude that the preceding is due to the fact that the Costa Rican Social Security Institution (CCSS in Spanish), the leading employer in the Health area, lacks positions to hire a majority of the graduate nurses.

"There are many nursing assistant positions held by professionals, a fact due to the large number of graduates," said Guillermo Abarca, Staff Management director.

Statistical Considerations. The statistics investigation by the OLAP was done through the stratified sampling technique. The student population was divided into subgroups (careers) and then the people to interview were selected at random.

The population analyzed corresponds to the graduates from state and private colleges who got a bachelor’s or a licenciatura in the years 2008, 2009 or 2010.

The graduate roll was supplied by the registration offices at state universities and by the National Council of Private Higher Learning (CONESUP in Spanish) for private ones.

Ilse Gutierrez, OLAP’s study coordinator, explained that people who had graduated in two professions between 2008 and 2010 were included in both in order to analyze separately their employment status and related job.

The focus population was estimated at 76,741 graduates, a figure that includes all of those careers who graduated at least 30 people from 2008 through 2010 (both at state and public colleges). Also, the Observatory chose to interview all of the graduates from careers which did not graduate over 17 people (six).

CarrerNumber of graduates
General Training13
Food and Livestock Management15
Enseñanza de Psicología y Filosofía14
Teaching Psychology and Philosophy16

The areas refer to groups of careers which differ regarding their names but which belong to one family. As an example: Human Resource Management, Human Resource Administration, Business Administration with emphasis on Human Resources.

The information gathered was used to build a database and to estimate the size of a sample for each of the disciplines. Finally, the size of the effective sample was 12,262 people interviewed by telephone between May 13 and December 13, 2013. The confidence level defined was 90% and the error margin was 6%.

It is important to bear in mind that even though the number of careers was set at 107, a total 169 samples were taken. The preceding because OLAP took into consideration the weight of public and private colleges in the overall graduates. The former, for example, account for one third of the graduates (23,000 out of 76,000).

t the Data Intelligence Unit, we expect that the information in this interactive special be useful for those who, currently, are defining their future at college.

If you would like to analyze more data, download base here.