A summary of my career development trajectory

In this chapter, graduate employability is explained as the skills, knowledge and traits that graduates should embody showcasing their higher education

Clarke, M. (2018). Rethinking graduate employability: The role of capital, individual attributes and context. Studies in higher education, 43(11), 1923-1937.

graduates’ employability development is a complex process which  was constructed by political and economic policies, status of the labor market, and the graduates’ social and personal circumstances.

Affordances and constraints were seen in what Tomlinson terms a three-fold conceptual frame      that includes macro-, meso-, and micro-levels

At a macro-level, the graduates’ employability trajectories were found to be heavily influenced by government policies, especially scholarship programmes of the host and home countries and permanent residency (PR) policies. At a meso-level, the graduates’ career choices and employment outcomes were clearly determined by parents’ perspectives, institutional programmes, and employers’ expectations. At a micro-level, it was revealed that to succeed in negotiating employability, graduates need to develop a range of employability capital including human capital, social capital, cultural capital, psychological capital, and identity capital.

Macro level

Government policies were found to exert both short-term and long-term impacts on employment opportunities of the graduates. For the graduates coming from advanced countries like Australia and New Zealand, their narratives revealed that changes in government policies could have led to their occupational transitions

Access to scholarship and exchange programmes of their home and host countries enabled many to change their life and career pathways. scholarship programmes both created opportunities for the graduates to advance their studies and initiated a new chapter in their lives.

Scholarships The Developing EmployABILITY Initiative is a program of Australia.

EmployABILITY Initiative is a program of Australia.

EmployABILITY: The ability to find, create and sustain meaningful work across the career lifespan and in multiple contexts

Bennett, D. (2020). Embedding employABILITY thinking across higher education. Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

permanent residency (PR) policies were clearly acknowledged by most graduates as a significant determinant in their career paths

having PR does not guarantee employment, evidenced by several graduates struggling to find work after obtaining PR

continual changes in PR policies also altered the career plans of many international students.

Pham, T. (2021). Conceptualising the employability agency of international graduates. Centre for Global Higher Education Working Papers, (75).

After completing their studies, instead of using obtained degrees to apply for PR, as initially planned, these two graduates had to leave Australia because their majors had been removed from the Demand List. After years of staying and doing different jobs in the home country, they made their return to Australia by enrolling in a new degree.

Since 2007, one of the most important policy shifts in Australia was the introduction of the graduate visa scheme (sub-class 485) which gave international graduates post-study work rights to test the Australian labour market. An increasing number of international graduates have taken up work opportunities, including full-time work, under the aforementioned visa

Meso-level

graduates’ employability trajectories were determined by prospects, expectations, and preferences of three key stakeholders including parents, institutions, and employers.

parents played a significant role in determining graduates’ early career paths

parental expectations were a crucial factor in directing the choice of study majors and, subsequently, early career pathways. Parents guided graduates to choose study disciplines which, from their perspective, could lead to a well-paid and stable job

graduates originally from Asian countries were steered by their parents to pursue disciplinary path in these occupations since these are commonly perceived as having good prospects for quick returns and job security.

parents advised graduates to follow the majors and career pathways of their elder siblings or other family members. Since most graduates reported that their study experience was financed by parents, many expressed debts and reference to parental sacrifices and feelings of obligations to repay their parents. These debts and feelings pushed them to study hard to excel academically so that they could quickly find a job and return to their parents’ in lieu of their sacrifices.

Many graduates’ career pathways had been determined and arranged by their parents possibly because these graduates were not mature enough to know their real interests. As our graduates matured and gained new experiences, many realized they held different interests pursuing a career that was not aligned with their parents’ choice. These transitions were either within the same or across different organizations (internal and external job transitions, or across contexts in different countries).

Pham, T. (2021). Transitioning from education to the labour market: What matters and essential resources for positive employability outcomes. In Enhancing Student Education Transitions and Employability (pp. 69-87). Routledge.

Gungea, M. (2019). Assessing the Needs of Industries to Enhance Graduate Employability-The Case of Mauritius.

graduates’ circumstances, some making career decisions at a young age without career counselling due to an absence of career services in their schools, and were under pressure from their parents’ expectations.

universities have actively integrated professional skills in teaching and learning programmes in response to industrial demands for work-ready graduates. Our narratives revealed two sets of knowledge and skills that the graduates had obtained from HE and yielded impacts on their post-study career. The first is termed “occupational expertise” (e.g., qualification, content knowledge), and the second “knowing-how competencies” (e.g., applicable knowledge, hands-on experience, professional skills).

qualifications were perceived as a ‘must’ condition for job success and to thrive in their field

job successes were largely determined by the graduates’ excellent academic records

Robson, J. (2023). Graduate employability and employment. In Assessing the Contributions of Higher Education (pp. 177-196). Edward Elgar Publishing.

In Australia, however, employers place considerable emphasis on graduates’ professional capabilities during recruitment. Despite this shift in focus to professional skills, rather than academic grades, the higher education degree itself is highly valued and of great importance given uncertain and highly competitive labour markets

overqualification contributed to their struggles in seeking work in Australia and New Zealand

underemployment might be an outcome for overeducation. It seems that this problem is more commonly seen in countries like Australia and the UK where, as Pham and Saito (2019) claim, work is predominantly allocated based on workers’ expertise and specialization. Therefore, our graduates were willing to accept work they were overqualified for but failed because their postgraduate degrees were not considered relevant to the manual work they applied for

Parutis, V., & Howson, C. K. (2020). Failing to level the playing field: student discourses on graduate employability. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 25(4), 373-393.

Broadley, T., Cai, Y., Firth, M., Hunt, E., & Neugebauer, J. (Eds.). (2022). The SAGE Handbook of Graduate Employability. SAGE.

activities intended to build professional skills and advance ‘knowing-how’ competencies, such as work-integrated learning (WIL), volunteering, parttime work and extra-curricular activities. Their value for developing career readiness are widely recognized

undertaking part-time work locally yet this did not strengthen their CVs because it was not related to their desired occupation

Australian employers expect not only academic credentials but professional skills and attributes aligned with the demands of contemporary work, such as resilience, creativity, and adaptability

importance to personal referees during the recruitment process. claiming they were a good way to learn the true qualities of candidates

students to concentrate on building a ‘good image’ with their lecturers or mentors, so that they are positioned to help as referees

e importance of graduates developing and maintaining a sound social media profile,

employers’ ‘perception of fit’ has been found to be negatively biased against migrants, including non-Anglicized names, heavy accents and non-recognition of international qualifications and skills.

employers often taking attire, name, accent, and any religious affiliation of migrant and international graduates into consideration when making their recruitment decisions.

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