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Signaling standout graduate employability: the employer perspective

Signaling standout graduate employability: the employer perspective
Signaling standout graduate employability: the employer perspective

This study examines employers' graduate employability expectations. In an overcrowded graduate labour market, employers must distinguish between equally qualified graduates to determine ‘standout employability’. Grounded in a dramaturgical perspective, we integrate concepts of skilful social action with signaling theory to extend the processual conceptualization of graduate employability. We report a qualitative abductive analysis of employers' expectations of graduates' employability performances. We theorise that employers frame and decode signals of standout employability from graduates' narrations of experientially referenced skilful social action. These form the dramaturgical backdrop from which employers infer unique personal brand assets and qualities they associate with standout employability. Our analysis has important implications for higher education (HE), human resource management and career counselling practitioners. It indicates that the employability value of non-HE experience is as a backdrop for the dramaturgical performance of graduate employability rather than for the acquisition of work-related skills or the enablement of work ready behaviours.

dramaturgy, graduate employability, signaling theory, work experience
0954-5395
675-693
Anderson, Valerie
9149ac19-c4f8-4fb1-866b-69b8fc51c0e3
Tomlinson, Michael
9dd1cbf0-d3b0-421e-8ded-b3949ebcee18
Anderson, Valerie
9149ac19-c4f8-4fb1-866b-69b8fc51c0e3
Tomlinson, Michael
9dd1cbf0-d3b0-421e-8ded-b3949ebcee18

Anderson, Valerie and Tomlinson, Michael (2021) Signaling standout graduate employability: the employer perspective. Human Resource Management Journal, 31 (3), 675-693. (doi:10.1111/1748-8583.12334).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This study examines employers' graduate employability expectations. In an overcrowded graduate labour market, employers must distinguish between equally qualified graduates to determine ‘standout employability’. Grounded in a dramaturgical perspective, we integrate concepts of skilful social action with signaling theory to extend the processual conceptualization of graduate employability. We report a qualitative abductive analysis of employers' expectations of graduates' employability performances. We theorise that employers frame and decode signals of standout employability from graduates' narrations of experientially referenced skilful social action. These form the dramaturgical backdrop from which employers infer unique personal brand assets and qualities they associate with standout employability. Our analysis has important implications for higher education (HE), human resource management and career counselling practitioners. It indicates that the employability value of non-HE experience is as a backdrop for the dramaturgical performance of graduate employability rather than for the acquisition of work-related skills or the enablement of work ready behaviours.

Text
19-HRMJ-05069.R4_Proof_hi (1) - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 18 November 2022.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 18 November 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 December 2020
Published date: July 2021
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: dramaturgy, graduate employability, signaling theory, work experience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445251
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445251
ISSN: 0954-5395
PURE UUID: 7ddd8afe-9d8b-45e7-8b9f-55aaba25ec1c
ORCID for Michael Tomlinson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1057-5188

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Date deposited: 26 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:05

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Author: Valerie Anderson

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