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Title: Graduate employability in the knowledge-based economy : a comparison between Great Britain and the Netherlands
Author: Tholen, Gerbrand
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 0350
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis presents a sociological inquiry into the social construction of graduate employability in the Netherlands and Great Britain. The study cross-nationally compares how final-year students approach the graduate labour market within their national institutional context influences their understanding. In this, it aims to close the dichotomy between structure and agency, which has often remained intact in previous investigations into graduate employment and employability. By adopting a dual methodology, consisting of a micro analysis and a context analysis, the study aims to investigate subjective accounts as well as the macro structural circumstances of the students. The micro analysis consists of analysis of sixty semi-structured interviews with students from both countries. The context analysis examines the organisation of higher education and the labour market through reviewing relevant documents and statistics. The study reveals that graduate employability is differently constructed by students in each country. We can therefore not assume homogeneity in the way students construct employability. In different contexts students create distinct ways of making sense of the competition for graduate jobs. The study also reveals that graduate employability is mediated through institutional national differences in labour market and higher education. The views of the students are inherently intertwined with how labour market and higher education are organised. Structural conditions inform an intersubjective framework that students use to make sense of the competition for jobs. It is argued that macro-national contexts shape the way students collectively mediate and co-create a shared framework in which their views become meaningful.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available