Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32727
A Study on the Waiting Time for the First Employment of Arts Graduates in Sri Lanka

Authors: Imali T. Jayamanne, K. P. Asoka Ramanayake


Transition from tertiary level education to employment is one of the challenges that many fresh university graduates face after graduation. The transition period or the waiting time to obtain the first employment varies with the socio-economic factors and the general characteristics of a graduate. Compared to other fields of study, Arts graduates in Sri Lanka, have to wait a long time to find their first employment. The objective of this study is to identify the determinants of the transition from higher education to employment of these graduates using survival models. The study is based on a survey that was conducted in the year 2016 on a stratified random sample of Arts graduates from Sri Lankan universities who had graduated in 2012. Among the 469 responses, 36 (8%) waiting times were interval censored and 13 (3%) were right censored. Waiting time for the first employment varied between zero to 51 months. Initially, the log-rank and the Gehan-Wilcoxon tests were performed to identify the significant factors. Gender, ethnicity, GCE Advanced level English grade, civil status, university, class received, degree type, sector of first employment, type of first employment and the educational qualifications required for the first employment were significant at 10%. The Cox proportional hazards model was fitted to model the waiting time for first employment with these significant factors. All factors, except ethnicity and type of employment were significant at 5%. However, since the proportional hazard assumption was violated, the lognormal Accelerated failure time (AFT) model was fitted to model the waiting time for the first employment. The same factors were significant in the AFT model as in Cox proportional model.

Keywords: AFT model, first employment, proportional hazard, survey design, waiting time.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1049


[1] D. Pozzoli, “The Transition to Work for Italian University Graduates”, Aarhus School of Business, Denmark, Working Paper 08-8, April 2008.
[2] M. Salas-Velasc,” The transition from higher education to employment in Europe: the analysis of the time to obtain the first job”, Springer, Higher Education 2007, 333–360.
[3] D. F. Moore, Applied Survival Analysis Using R, Springer, 2nd ed, 2016, pp.25-100.
[4] J. Qi, Comparison of Proportional Hazards and Accelerated Failure Time Models, University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada, March 2009.
[5] R. Gunatilaka, M. Mayer and M. Vodopivec “The Challenge of Youth Employment in Sri Lanka” The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank ,2010, ch.5, pp.115-136.
[6] K. P. A. Ramanayake, I. T. Jayamanne, Y. Ramyadevipriya and K. L. Perera, Graduand Employment Census 2012, Ministry of Higher Education, 2013.
[7] D. R. Cox, Partial likelihood. Biometrika, vol. 62, 1975. pp.269–276.
[8] A. N. Nguyen and J. Taylor, “Transition from School to First Job: the influence of educational attainment”, Lancaster University Management School, Working Paper, 2003/009.
[9] T. Lumley, “Analysis of complex survey samples.” Journal of Statistical Software” vol.9(1), 2014, pp.1-19.
[10] T. Lumley “survey: analysis of complex survey samples” R package version 3.32. 2017.
[11] T. Lumley “Package ‘survival’ R package version 2.41-3, April 2017.
[12] L. Biggeri, M. Bini and L. Grilli, “The transition from university to work: a multilevel approach to the analysis of the time to obtain the first job”, J. R. Statist. Soc. A, Vol. 164, No. 2 ,2001, pp. 293-305.
[13] D. Emanuela and A. Gabriela, Using Survival Analysis in Economics, survival 11, 2011, pp.439-450.
[14] T. Moore, “Survival Analysis of Transitions from Benefit to Work Using Administrative Data”, Labour. Employment and Work in New Zealand, 2006.
[15] N. Carroll, “Explaining Unemployment Duration in Australia”, Economic Record, 2006. vol. 82 (258), pp. 298-314.
[16] M. L. Delignette-Muller, and C. Dutang “fitdistrplus: An R Package for Fitting Distributions” Journal of Statistical Softwares, Vol. 64 (4), 2015.
[17] R. G. Ariyawansa, “Employability of Graduates of Sri Lankan Universities”, Sri Lankan Journal of Human Resource Management, vol.1 (2), 2008.