What will they do when they grow up? Employability and the academic experience


The imminence of a Teaching Excellence Framework in the UK is placing our existing bundle of metrics under fresh scrutiny. Hence recent attention to employability, measured now by the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, which tracks down graduates six months after they have received their degrees.

We’re all familiar with DLHE data: in the coming weeks I, like thousands of other academics across the country, will be quoting figures at open days. I’ve also been to plenty of meetings at which ‘employability strategy’ has been code for ‘getting the right graduates to complete DLHE’.

Johnny Rich, meanwhile, is the latest of a long line of critics to argue that DLHE is a poor proxy for a measure of employability. Rich’s timely report, Employability: Degrees of Value, argues that graduate employment is a very different thing from employability. Moreover, focus on the former, since it produces our…

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