'The degree is not enough': students' perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and employability

Tomlinson, Michael (2008) 'The degree is not enough': students' perceptions of the role of higher education credentials for graduate work and employability. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 29, (1), 49-61. (doi:10.1080/01425690701737457).


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The UK Government is calling upon higher education students to see their learning as an investment that will give them direct benefits in the labour market. At the same time, the relationship between educational credentials and their returns in labour market has been changing in recent times. Based on a qualitative study with 53 final?year undergraduate students in a pre-1992 university, this article examines the way higher education students understand the role of their educational credentials in relation to their future employability. It shows that students perceive their academic qualifications as having a declining role in shaping their employment outcomes in what is perceived to be a congested and competitive graduate labour market. While academic credentials are still seen as a significant dimension of their employability, students increasingly see the need to add value to them in order to gain an advantage in the labour market.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/01425690701737457
ISSNs: 0142-5692 (print)
1465-3346 (electronic)
Keywords: mass higher education, graduate employability, human capital, credentials, positional competition
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Southampton Education School
ePrint ID: 199739
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
January 2008Published
11 January 2008Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2011 10:59
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:45
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/199739

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