The Truth About Graduate 'Employability'

The truth about ‘employability’

It doesn’t really exist. I mean it’s a concept and sometimes useful, depending on the context, but the way it is used in reports and league tables you might think it’s a clearly defined and measurable fact and it isn’t.

I know - tricky claim if it's part of how you're choosing a university or degree. 

You can find definitions and choose one you like and actually that’s the answer, think about what you mean. Decide what you mean by employability and if that is important to you when you make a choice about university or degree course. If it is, check if what you want to know can be found in the data and information out there. If so great use it. Use it wisely and with a critical eye but use it certainly.

When you hear ‘employability’, or ‘graduate prospects’, what comes to mind?

  • An income quickly after University.
  • A job at graduate level, within 1-3 years.
  • The most employers making you an offer.
  • Highest fulfilment and reward – financial or otherwise.
  • A broad range of skills, experience, knowledge and personal qualities to keep you flexible in an ever-changing job market and world of work.
  • An education and experience recognised internationally or in a specific profession.
  • A job very related to your degree, with a secure contract, based in your home town.
  • An ‘employability matrix of skills’ embedded into your course.
  • As much work experience as possible, through internships and placements.
  • Or what about not being ‘employable’ and instead working for yourself.

You can probably see why people who work in Careers Services don’t much like the term ‘employability’ and neither do students. Because we all differ in what we want and that’s good. Just give it some thought and compare what you want, with what the league tables tell you.

What do the league tables tell you, when they talk about employability and prospects?

It varies but can be any mixture of:

  • Work (or study) graduates are doing 6 months after graduation.
  • Ratings of graduates by employers.
  • The number of links a University has with industry.
  • Placement links between Universities and employers.
  • How many alumni are on international ‘high achiever’ lists.

If you are now stumped as to how to assess a course and university, in terms of impact on your career prospects, read my blog 'Choosing a University and Course - Life Outside the League Tables.' 

I also have a FREE guide and checklist to help you with what to think about, in terms of employability, when choosing a degree.

If you would you like individual help, in order to increase your confidence around your University and course choice? Then book a one-to-one telephone/ Skype session for an unbiased discussion. Saving you some stress and confusion for less than the cost of train ticket to an open day! 

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