Title Do employability programmes in higher education improve skills and labour market outcomes? A systematic review of academic literature
Authors Scandurra R. , Kelly D. , FUSARO, STEFANO, Cefalo R. , Hermannson K.
External publication No
Means Stud. High. Educ.
Scope Article
Nature Científica
JCR Quartile 1
SJR Quartile 1
Web https://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85174826223&doi=10.1080%2f03075079.2023.2265425&partnerID=40&md5=74fba387767dc4889d6825d6c7987800
Publication date 01/10/2023
Scopus Id 2-s2.0-85174826223
DOI 10.1080/03075079.2023.2265425
Abstract We conduct a systematic literature review of the academic literature on activities organised by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) with the aim of improving skills associated with employability and facilitating labour market outcomes. The search resulted in 87 papers followed by an iterative evaluation of their relevance. Papers in the corpus were analysed using an evaluation research framework and classified in terms of the activities, outputs, and outcomes. The reviewed literature is centred on one of three stakeholders: HEIs, students or employers. It suggests all stakeholders value employability activities for similar reasons. Generally, they are seen as a vital part of HEI education programmes, facilitating the development of diverse skills that are desirable in the labour market as well as de-risking labour market entry for students and appointments for employers by alleviating information asymmetries. The evidence base is dominated by small-scale case studies and evaluations that are not sufficiently robust to infer about causal impacts of employability activities on students’ development and labour market outcomes. Moreover, the corpus is skewed towards studies of Work-Related Learning. We set out avenues for future research and argue for a comprehensive evidence base encompassing diverse forms of employability activities, such as larger scale ‘embedded employability’ activities; a more contextual understanding of employability as an interplay between individual and a particular labour market and education system; and a more robust evidence base tracking students from education into the labour market, allowing for selection effects and identifying heterogeneity of impacts across different activities and demographics. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Keywords Employability; graduate outcomes; higher education institutions; skills development; work-based learning
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