Graduate Work: Skills, Credentials, Careers, and Labour Markets
The expansion of Higher Education has been one of the most important changes to affect Western labour markets. More than a third of all British workers are now degree holders. The graduate labour market is often understood as that part of the labour market characterized by high skills and high knowledge intensity and that is perceived to be needed and used in an increasingly complex economy. Higher education is presumed to be the developer of these advanced skills. Yet with the graduatisation of the workforce, comes growing concerns about, as well as misunderstanding, of what jobs graduates occupy, how they utilise their skills, and what the role of education is within graduate work and the competition for jobs. The book examines some of the assumptions placed on graduate work, graduate jobs, graduate skills, and graduate careers. It provides valuable insights how we can understand the meaning of graduate work within a rapidly changing economic, technological, and organizational context. Based on in-depth qualitative case studies of software developers, financial analysts, laboratory scientists, and press officers, the book shows that the graduate labour market is more heterogeneous than often is understood. What counts as graduate work remains contested and under constant reinterpretation and re-negotiation. Access to work, job performance, and career advancement are not necessarily driven by university qualifications and skills associated with Higher Education. The book begins to explore how and to what extent, those workers with university degrees are defined by their educational experiences, status, and qualifications.