Supporting graduates’ futures through today’s higher education

Shelley Kinash, Linda H Crane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


The global financial crisis was said to have run its course from 2007 through 2008 and yet, world-wide, university graduate employability continues to be unsatisfactory. An unacceptable number of graduates fail to secure employment in a timely manner. Students are pessimistic about their prospects. Employers are dissatisfied with the skill-sets of graduates. A research study supported by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching inquired into graduate employability from the perspectives of students, graduates, employers and higher education staff (educators and career development professionals). Analysed data included 705 completed surveys, and transcripts from in-depth interviews and focus groups with 147 people across Australia. Analysis was conducted using manual coding and NVivo thematic clustering. Results indicated that a whole-of-university, embedded approach to employability is more effective than confining career supports to a dedicated office. The research team derived a new definition of graduate employability that aligns with this embedded approach. 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. Eight ways that academics can improve their students’ employability across disciplines emerged from the data. First, support increased opportunities for student work experience, placements and internships. Second, explicitly articulate the relevant graduate employability skills in the learning outcomes for every subject. Third, design authentic assessment activities, aligned with industry practices, standards and approaches. Fourth, know your disciplines’ career options and outcomes and be explicit about career pathways. Fifth, make the learning experience about knowledge, skills and attributes. Sixth, invite employers to engage. Seventh, invite graduates to engage. Eighth, explicitly teach students how to be employable. The paper elaborates on each of the eight pedagogical approaches to enhancing graduate employability through using interviewees’ words and examples from the research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference proceedings. The future of education. 6th edition
Editors Pixel
PublisherLibreria Universitaria
ISBN (Print)8862927436, 9788862927437
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
EventInternational Conference: The Future of Education - Florence, Florence, Italy
Duration: 30 Jun 20161 Jul 2016
Conference number: 6th


ConferenceInternational Conference: The Future of Education
Internet address


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