Graduate employability and productivity

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Journal Article

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Billett, S., Bennett, D., Jollands, M., Kinash., & S., Lee, N. (June 2014). Graduate employability and productivity. Paper presented at Learning and Teaching for our times: Higher education in a digital era. Sydney, Australia.

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© Copyright, Office of Learning and Teaching, 2014

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This report aims to inform the improvement of higher education graduate employability through disseminating the perspectives of students, graduates (alumni), higher education personnel (including educators and career development professionals) and employers. The team of report authors propose that students must do more than study and complete their courses in order to be employable upon graduation. Students, graduates and employers all agreed that work experience, internships and placements are the most significant set of strategies to enhancing graduate employability. Furthermore, participation in a number and range of graduate employability strategies is particularly important for students who are not enrolled in generalist programs like humanities that teach graduate attributes such as critical thinking and communications. The research approach of the project presented in this report was survey methodology. Four survey versions were created and distributed online and via paper resulting in over seven hundred responses. Process and outcome data was rigorously collected, analysed, compared and contrasted. The report provides empirical evidence that higher education providers must support graduate employability using a variety of strategies. Research also revealed that employers are open to hiring graduates of professional programs and generalist programs such as humanities, life sciences, computer science and visual/performing arts. Because of the chosen survey approach, the results point to effective strategies for improving graduate employability, but does not enable detailed how-to information. Therefore, the next phase of the project research, forthcoming in a follow-up report, is to conduct interviews and focus groups with all four stakeholder groups to provide rich process details about employability. This current report includes recommendations from the survey responses to guide the improvement of strategy supports of graduate employability. This report fulfils an identified need to improve the ways in which graduate employability is supported to improve the outcomes for the emerging educated workforce.

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