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Conference Paper

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Kinash, S., Crane, L., Judd, M-M., Knight, C., & Dowling, D. ( 2015). What students and graduates need to know about graduate employability: Lessons from National OLT research. Paper presented at the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conference (HERDSA). 6-9 July, 2015. Melbourne.

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© Copyright, The Authors, 2015

2015 HERDC submission


Based on 2013 data, Graduate Careers Australia reported that graduate employability rates are the lowest they have been in twenty years. This paper applies outcomes from a National OLT project commissioned in 2013 (completed in 2015) in response to this employment crisis. This paper presents research outcomes from analysis of in-depth one-hour interviews and focus groups with 147 people from across four stakeholder groups: students, graduates, higher education personnel (educators and career development personnel) and employers. Validated narrative analysis was conducted on full transcripts. Eleven themes emerged: multi-national corporations; competitive sport, athletes and employability; entrepreneurship; private institutions; career development centres; indigenous employment; commercial employment enterprises; government; emerging careers; generalist disciplines; and graduate attributes. Each theme is elaborated in the paper. Based on the research results, in order to enhance employability upon graduation, students are encouraged to: start early, such as in their first semester; participate in work experience, placements and internships; join in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities (e.g. student societies, clubs and competitive sport); and get to know their educators and their career development centre personnel. Based on the research, stakeholders from across groups perceive that employability is enhanced when graduates: actively participate in their learning, particularly engaging in placement/internship opportunities when available; choose a few prospective employers, do their research and tailor their applications; participate in industry graduate initiatives when offered; and know themselves and practice articulating their personal employability brands.

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This document has been peer reviewed.


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