Employability study leads conversation online

Employability support is a vital part of the university experience but support can be easier to spot for certain groups of students, according to a leading study by Regent’s Professor Simon O’Leary.

Simon O'Leary
Professor Simon O'Leary

Professor O’Leary’s study, selected as a top story in Prospects Luminate, explores the visibility of support on university campuses.

It noted that some students miss out on crucial careers guidance, largely because they haven’t recognised its delivery and, due to disciplinary variations, this has a notably greater impact on female students.

‘Support is important for students and graduates in enhancing their career prospects. It’s vital for the higher education sector in promoting its added value,’ Professor O’Leary said.

This difference in levels of access is pronounced in the fields of study. Science and technology students – predominantly male – are significantly more likely to know about the support available to them than the mostly female students in social sciences, arts and humanities. This is despite both groups having access to roughly the same levels of support.

‘The social sciences, arts and humanities are delivering just as much support but ten times more of these students do not spot the value of the support. Perhaps it just need better signposting,’ Professor O’Leary said.

The detailed results were published in the Studies in Higher Education journal.

Professor O’Leary, Regent’s Director of University Research Centre for Entrepreneurship & Family Business, researched a similar theme in his 2017 study in study in the Journal of Education and Work, when he explored how to enhance graduate employability across all subject areas to improve the experience of all university graduates.

Prospects Luminate is the home of data, trends and thought leadership on the graduate labour market. It has been at the heart of higher education for more than 45 years, and is an arm of the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), Universities UK and GuildHE. It a leading resource for careers advisers, recruiters, employers and others interested in labour market information.