Navigating the graduate labour market: the impact of social class on student understandings of graduate careers and the graduate labour market

Ciaran Burke*, Tracy Scurry, John Blenkinsopp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Significant expansions in higher education over the last few decades have raised concerns about an over-supply of graduates in the labour market, such that a degree no longer seamlessly translates into a graduate career or occupation, with the increased life chances this could bring. In this paper, we report a study of undergraduates’ perceptions of graduate careers and the graduate labour market. As the data showed perceptions were shaped strongly by social class we applied a Bourdieusian theoretical lens to examine the role of capitals and hysteresis of habitus on students’ expectations. The study demonstrates how the classed nature of the graduate labour market manifests itself through differences in the level of understanding and preparedness for navigating the labour market. We highlight the structural barriers ‘non-traditional’ graduates face when entering and navigating a volatile graduate labour market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1711-1722
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Volume45
Issue number8
Early online date26 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2020

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