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Students’ perceptions of education and employability: facilitating career transition from higher education into the labor market

Students’ perceptions of education and employability: facilitating career transition from higher education into the labor market
Students’ perceptions of education and employability: facilitating career transition from higher education into the labor market

Purpose: the purpose of this paper is to understand how students perceive their future careers and how university has prepared them to enter the global labor market; student perceptions regarding benefits vs associated costs of pursuing higher education (HE) on employability and earnings; and the anticipated barriers and how to overcome these in pursuit of career sustainability within a career ecosystem. 

Design/methodology/approach: the authors adopted a qualitative method using semi-structured interviews on a small sample of 38 final year students from a UK university who were also participants in an earlier two-wave quantitative survey, which was conducted with 387 penultimate and final year undergraduates from the same UK-based University. 

Findings: findings revealed that undergraduates perceive their investment in HE to offer a net financial gain; however, this is narrowing due to increased tuition fees, associated student debt and interest payments eroding earning premiums. As undergraduates progress, they feel more employable from a personal perspective, but less employable from a market perspective due to competition for graduate jobs and the cost/benefit conflict of resources. 

Practical implications: the authors provide nine opportunities for enhancing the employability of graduates collaborating with graduate employers, providing a timely contribution to the social, political and economic debate on the funding of HE. 

Originality/value: the authors advance career theory via the new perspective of Career Ecosystem Theory by: explaining student career perceptions in terms of how university has prepared them for the global labor market; exploring the perceived costs vs benefits of pursuing HE in relation to employability; suggesting a two-dimensional model of personal and market factors of employability; providing a model of careers advice from employers and universities for supporting students’ careers; and offering policy implications in relation to the future funding of HE and employability of future graduates.

Career development, Education, Higher education, Individual development
1362-0436
513-540
Donald, William E.
0b3cb4ca-8ed9-4a5f-9c10-359923469eec
Ashleigh, Melanie J.
f2a64ca7-435b-4ad7-8db5-33b735766e46
Baruch, Yehuda
25b89777-def4-4958-afdc-0ceab43efe8a
Donald, William E.
0b3cb4ca-8ed9-4a5f-9c10-359923469eec
Ashleigh, Melanie J.
f2a64ca7-435b-4ad7-8db5-33b735766e46
Baruch, Yehuda
25b89777-def4-4958-afdc-0ceab43efe8a

Donald, William E., Ashleigh, Melanie J. and Baruch, Yehuda (2018) Students’ perceptions of education and employability: facilitating career transition from higher education into the labor market. Career Development International, 23 (5), 513-540. (doi:10.1108/CDI-09-2017-0171).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: the purpose of this paper is to understand how students perceive their future careers and how university has prepared them to enter the global labor market; student perceptions regarding benefits vs associated costs of pursuing higher education (HE) on employability and earnings; and the anticipated barriers and how to overcome these in pursuit of career sustainability within a career ecosystem. 

Design/methodology/approach: the authors adopted a qualitative method using semi-structured interviews on a small sample of 38 final year students from a UK university who were also participants in an earlier two-wave quantitative survey, which was conducted with 387 penultimate and final year undergraduates from the same UK-based University. 

Findings: findings revealed that undergraduates perceive their investment in HE to offer a net financial gain; however, this is narrowing due to increased tuition fees, associated student debt and interest payments eroding earning premiums. As undergraduates progress, they feel more employable from a personal perspective, but less employable from a market perspective due to competition for graduate jobs and the cost/benefit conflict of resources. 

Practical implications: the authors provide nine opportunities for enhancing the employability of graduates collaborating with graduate employers, providing a timely contribution to the social, political and economic debate on the funding of HE. 

Originality/value: the authors advance career theory via the new perspective of Career Ecosystem Theory by: explaining student career perceptions in terms of how university has prepared them for the global labor market; exploring the perceived costs vs benefits of pursuing HE in relation to employability; suggesting a two-dimensional model of personal and market factors of employability; providing a model of careers advice from employers and universities for supporting students’ careers; and offering policy implications in relation to the future funding of HE and employability of future graduates.

Text
CDI Employability RR III As submitted 24.09.2018 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 27 September 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 October 2018
Keywords: Career development, Education, Higher education, Individual development

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 426160
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/426160
ISSN: 1362-0436
PURE UUID: 50b9818c-1e06-4cf5-9c28-9e4f4b4d4db7
ORCID for William E. Donald: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3670-5374
ORCID for Melanie J. Ashleigh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0583-0922
ORCID for Yehuda Baruch: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0678-6273

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 29 Oct 2023 06:11

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Contributors

Author: William E. Donald ORCID iD
Author: Yehuda Baruch ORCID iD

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