Employability – what does it really mean? And how can it be ‘refreshed’ to give employers that ‘differential’ on campus with students?

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Graduate recruiters are rightfully always looking for new ways to differentiate themselves on campus and a fresh look at the employability agenda could offer a solution.

To most students employability or anything related to it is about purely getting a job (not succeeding once in it). And to be fair to them this is reinforced by the fact that a lot of ‘employability training’ focuses on CVs, interview technique and the skills or competencies companies require to getting a job with them.

This student held view feels much like what I was warned about 13 years ago (and maybe even William & Kate last weekend!) concerning the importance of planning a marriage not just the wedding!

Wikipedia will tell us employability is about gaining and keeping fulfilling work; or for their more ‘comprehensive’ definition it is about the ability to move self sufficiently within the labour market. (I do like the point about ‘self-sufficiently’).

Another view is employability requires students to possess not only certain qualities, but that they must also have good insight into what these qualities are and how they can be transferred from one context to another.

The points that stand out to me from wikipedia are around ‘keeping fulfilling work’ & ‘moving within the labour market’ and from the other view that it is about transferring qualities from one context to another. 

In short, employability needs to be seen as so much more than just getting a job. It is, simply put, about being successful in that job & all future jobs and careers; knowing the skills you have and using them to progress your career.

Too many of the skills that students are being focused on, as part of employability, are ‘job getting’ skills and not about building a successful career.

So to differentiate on campus why not give students the skills they need to succeed once in work. We are and will be launching it at the AGR Conference this summer.


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