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Employers and graduates: the mediating role of signals and capitals

Employers and graduates: the mediating role of signals and capitals
Employers and graduates: the mediating role of signals and capitals
This article provides evidence and insight on the demand-side of graduate employment and selection through an investigation of employers’ conceptions of what constitutes hireable and employable graduates. Drawing on evidence from a qualitative study with a diverse range of employers in the UK, the article shows that employers understand graduates’ employability to encompass a complex mix of key resources, understood here as capitals, that enable graduates to present a compelling narrative of employability. Departing from conventional graduate skills approaches, the article integrates signaling and socio-cultural approaches for examining the ways in which capitals operate as signals that inform employer conceptions of which graduates are perceived to be most hireable and ultimately employable. A range of human, organisational-cultural and identity capitals enhance the value of graduates’ profiles and provide signaling information that enables employers to screen graduate potential in competitive and crowded labour markets.
Employers, capitals, employability, graduates, signaling
1360-080X
384-399
Tomlinson, Michael
9dd1cbf0-d3b0-421e-8ded-b3949ebcee18
Anderson, Valerie
cdc16280-53ba-40e7-9533-185c8c3f55ed
Tomlinson, Michael
9dd1cbf0-d3b0-421e-8ded-b3949ebcee18
Anderson, Valerie
cdc16280-53ba-40e7-9533-185c8c3f55ed

Tomlinson, Michael and Anderson, Valerie (2021) Employers and graduates: the mediating role of signals and capitals. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 43 (4), 384-399. (doi:10.1080/1360080X.2020.1833126).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article provides evidence and insight on the demand-side of graduate employment and selection through an investigation of employers’ conceptions of what constitutes hireable and employable graduates. Drawing on evidence from a qualitative study with a diverse range of employers in the UK, the article shows that employers understand graduates’ employability to encompass a complex mix of key resources, understood here as capitals, that enable graduates to present a compelling narrative of employability. Departing from conventional graduate skills approaches, the article integrates signaling and socio-cultural approaches for examining the ways in which capitals operate as signals that inform employer conceptions of which graduates are perceived to be most hireable and ultimately employable. A range of human, organisational-cultural and identity capitals enhance the value of graduates’ profiles and provide signaling information that enables employers to screen graduate potential in competitive and crowded labour markets.

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R2 JHEPM_Employers and graduates 28 09 2020 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 3 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 October 2020
Published date: 2021
Keywords: Employers, capitals, employability, graduates, signaling

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444336
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444336
ISSN: 1360-080X
PURE UUID: a8943653-11df-4890-80c8-61fada4149d6
ORCID for Michael Tomlinson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1057-5188

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Oct 2020 16:46
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 05:34

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Contributors

Author: Valerie Anderson

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