Rethinking graduate employability: The role of capitals and agency in graduates’ career trajectories

Universities worldwide have been using the employability skills agenda as the predominant approach to tackle graduate employability. However, this approach has been found to have various flaws. We therefore argue for the need to develop graduates’ personal capitals and agency as an alternative approach to enhance graduate employability. The presentation will draw on an empirical study conducted in Australia to illustrate how international graduates developed capitals and agency in managing their employability. A conceptual model of international graduates’ capitals will be presented. Our research has two main implications. First, it alerts graduates to significant capitals that they should be aware of and invest in building so that they could use on their transition to the labour market. Second, it sends a significant message to various stakeholders in higher education and policy makers to develop more rounded programmes that could prepare students (especially international students) with multi-dimensional resources rather than only graduate attributes. Strategies reported in the presentation have a high application value to inform future graduates.

Dr Than Pham & Associate Professor Chris Thompson, Monash University

Thanh has been working in higher education for more than 10 years. Her main research areas are graduate employability, intercultural education, and education internationalisation. She has been conducting substantial research on internationalisation of higher education curricula and enhancing interactions of students from various backgrounds and contexts. Thanh is researching graduate employability with a focus on unpacking how graduates develop strategies to navigate barriers in the labour markets. Working in Australia, Vietnam and Japan, she has been developing models to elucidate resources (capitals) that graduates should be aware of and develop so that they could thrive in both host and home labour markets.

Chris is an Associate Professor in Chemistry Education with a background in physical chemistry. He has published over 50 papers in the fields of both science education and his native discipline of spectroscopy. At the Faculty of Science, he has focused on curriculum and assessment reform across all year levels, and paid particular attention to the employability of Science Graduates from all disciplines. He currently serves as Associate Dean (Education).

Seminar details:

Date:        8 March 2019

Time:       2:15pm - 3:15pm

Room:     24-506


Building 24, Room 506