MIT is brutally hard academically

How much is an academic title worth?

Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.), Magister of Arts (Mag.art.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Graduate Engineer (Dipl .-Ing.), Doctor of Medicine (Dr. med. Univ.), Doctor of Social and Economic Sciences (Dr. rer. Soc. Oec.) Or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): The list of academic degrees in this country is much longer than this exemplary list.

After all, Austria is considered the country of titles where you can get a "Mag." or "Dr." is courted before the name. With the bachelor-master system of the Bologna reform, title addiction was reduced a little, especially since the degree is spoken after the name. But the variety of the exact title designations is in the hands of the universities. More than 20 different Masters are awarded at public universities alone.

At the same time, the Bologna system has resulted in students trying to collect ECTS points faster and faster, possibly completing two studies in a minimum period of study in order to have supposedly better cards on the job market. In the 2018/2019 academic year, according to Statistics Austria, 27,036 people completed a bachelor's degree at a university or university of applied sciences and 15,753 completed a master's degree. In addition, 5,473 graduated from public universities and 2,182 graduated from a doctorate. According to the OECD, such university degrees have 18 percent in this country, while the OECD average is 31 percent.

Entry ticket to the job market

On the job market, at least a bachelor's degree and often a master's degree are required for many jobs. For jobs in the natural sciences, a doctorate is more the standard than the exception. How much is a title even worth? How much can you stand out when you apply for a job? "Companies that are looking for employees set the bar as high as possible when it comes to requirement profiles," says Florens Eblinger, managing director of the personnel consultancy of the same name. From an entrepreneurial point of view, this makes sense, this is the only way to address top candidates. In practice, this also works, companies may not even ask whether a high school diploma would not also be sufficient for the tasks.

The job advertisements then contain formulations such as: "A university degree" or "relevant professional experience". Every applicant wants to show as much as possible, and if newcomers have no professional experience, they can at least score with a degree, adds Eblinger. Because the selection process is tough, usually only five applicants are shortlisted. And even if, from a personnel consultant's point of view, a degree alone is not enough to make a decision, a university degree could very well be an entrance ticket for good, higher-qualified jobs.

Difficult ascent without a degree

Generalizations are difficult, however, says Eblinger. Every company works differently, and start-ups in particular are looking for employees who have no traditional careers, according to his experience. "But hardly anyone can go from apprentice to management today." This is also due to the young generation's willingness to change, he puts into perspective. According to the management monitor of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Labor, around 60 percent of domestic managers have a high school diploma or an academic degree.

A doctorate is less relevant from a career perspective. Because, according to Eblinger, different qualifications and competencies would count in order to rise to the management level.

In terms of salary, however, an academic degree pays off, as the HR network Forum Personal in the ÖPWZ (Austrian Productivity and Economic Center) documents every two years. Master's graduates with a technical or economic degree earn around 300 euros more than their Bachelor colleagues when they start their careers. With increasing professional experience, the gap becomes clearer and after three to five years it is between 400 and 700 euros. But a bachelor's degree is also reflected in the salary. Compared to HTL or HAK high school graduates, bachelor graduates with a technical or economic degree receive around 200 euros more. (Gudrun Ostermann, Selina Thaler, January 16, 2021)