RESOURCE OF THE MONTH
DISCREPANT STAKEHOLDER PERSPECTIVES ON GRADUATE EMPLOYABILITY STRATEGIES
Introducing a New Definition of Graduate Employability
Graduate employability means that higher education alumni have developed the capacity to obtain and/or create work. Furthermore, employability means that institutions and employers have supported the student knowledge, skills, attributes, reflective disposition and identity that graduates need to succeed in the workforce.
This definition derived from a national Category One research grant titled –
Supporting graduate employability from generalist disciplines through employer and private institution collaboration.
The primary rationale for this project was the unsatisfactory rate of graduate employment. According to Graduate Careers Australia, less than 70% of undergraduates are employed full-time four months after graduation.
The project team researched what universities can do to improve graduate employability.
The project activities were to nationally survey students, graduates, employers, higher education career development professionals and educators.
Stakeholder perspectives from among the 705 completed surveys were compared and contrasted. The team also engaged with 147 people nationally from the four stakeholder groups through in-depth interviews and focus groups.
There were three key research findings
The common definitions of employability must be expanded to acknowledge the importance of identity and to include making as well as taking careers.
Universities can improve graduate employability but there are strong discrepancies between the four stakeholder groups as to which strategies are the most important and effective.
There was a widespread agreement that graduates have heightened employability when their student experience represents both a strong disciplinary knowledge and broad-based experiences such as through extracurricular activities including student societies, volunteer work and sport.
Numerous graduate employability tools and resources (videos, case studies, worksheets) can be found throughout this website.
This research has been honoured with two 2015 awards
National – One of three highly commended employability initiatives through the Australian Financial Review – Higher Education Awards
International – Shortlisted (from over 500 nominations) for the Wharton QS Stars Reimagine Education Awards (to be awarded 7-9 Dec in Philadelphia)
Support for this activity has been provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views expressed in this activity do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.