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Title: Students' perceptions of graduate employability : a sequential explanatory approach
Author: Donald, William Edward
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 1359
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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Students’ perceptions of graduate employability are not well known. This research contributes a new model of graduate employability, which constructs an emergent identity, underpinned by a human capital and contemporary career theory framework. An extensive literature review generated the conceptual model, validated by a pragmatic, sequential explanatory approach through a two-wave quantitative study of 387 participants (2015/2016 and 2016/2017), followed by interviews of 38 participants (2016/2017) across 21 degree subjects. Moderators of gender, degree subject, and year of study further advanced career theory. Human capital incorporated factors of social capital, cultural capital, psychological capital, scholastic capital, market-value capital, and skills. The contemporary career theory framework underpinned careers advice, career ownership via a protean career orientation, and career mobility via a boundaryless career orientation. This research validated protean and boundaryless career measures in an undergraduate population, contributing twenty dimensions of international, national, and local mobility, and a two-dimensional model of personal factors and market factors. Tuition fee increases, interest rate increases, and modest salary expectations meant that the majority of students did not believe they would repay their university debt in full. Whilst students perceived the benefits of higher education to outweigh the associated costs, the gap is narrowing. Prospective students need a clear reason for pursuing higher education, validating the conservation of resources theory. The practical contribution of this research is to offer ways to prepare students for the graduate labour market, helping to enhance national competitiveness through making undergraduates more employable, and providing guidance to policy makers. The validated model of graduate employability offers a mechanism for further collaboration between all stakeholders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available