HBO-Monitor: more stress due to coronapandemic

The new report based on the HBO-Monitor shows that HBO graduates experience more stress in their jobs than before the coronapandem. On the other hand, unemployment rates among this group have changed relatively little.

The HBO-Monitor is an annual survey among all graduates of Dutch universities of applied sciences (in Dutch: Hogescholen). It provides insight into the (labour market) position of graduates and shows to what extent programmes prepare their students well for the labour market. The monitor is conducted by the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) of Maastricht University under the auspices of the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences.


Between graduating in 2018/2019 and conducting the survey, the Netherlands was hit hard by the coronapandemic. Due to measures taken by the government and a high degree of flexibility of Dutch employees and employers, the consequences for the economy and employment were less drastic than initially feared. Nevertheless, especially in sectors where work has to be done in close proximity to other people, the pandemic has sometimes had far-reaching consequences for the way work can be done.

Labour market position reasonably stable

Considering the circumstances, graduates from universities of applied sciences did reasonably well in the labour market in 2020. Around 90% of full-time graduates found a job within three months of graduation, the same as in 2019. The monitor shows a small increase in unemployment. This increase seems to partly fit into a slightly upward trend, from a low point in 2017 at the end of the previous economic crisis. However, a relatively sharp rise in unemployment is seen in the arts sector. This is almost certainly partly due to the corona pandemic.

Stress mainly increased in health care

Approximately four in ten graduates said they currently experience a lot of stress at work. This proportion is highest among graduates from the arts (49%) and education (almost 47%) sectors. Graduates also said they experienced more stress now than before the corona crisis. The strongest increase in work-related stress in coronation time is seen in the health care sector.