The student perspective on employability

Alex Tymon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite ongoing debate about whether they can and should, most higher education institutions include the development of employability skills within their curricula. However, employers continue to report that graduates are not ready for the world of work, and lack some of the most basic skills needed for successful employment. Research into why this might be abounds from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders, including government, employers, higher education institutions and graduates. Interestingly though, the views of undergraduates, the recipients of this employability development, are not well known. This could be important, because learning theory tells us that motivation and commitment of learners is an essential prerequisite for effective outcomes. So the question is raised as to whether undergraduate students are engaged with employability skills development. This article reports on a study exploring the views of over 400 business studies, marketing and human resource management undergraduate students about employability. Findings suggest there is only limited alignment between the views of students and other stakeholder groups. There are differences between first, second and final year students, which could explain an observed lack of engagement with employability-related development. Some suggestions for improving engagement are made, alongside ideas on what can, realistically, be done within higher education institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-856
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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