University of Portsmouth

skillfulbuyerΠολεοδομικά Έργα

16 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 5 χρόνια και 4 μήνες)

299 εμφανίσεις

Sally Rumbles & Alex Tymon

University of Portsmouth

BMAF conference 2011

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Better qualified

More relevant degrees

Better grades

Better educated

Contribute to society

Increased employability skills

A degree on its own is not longer enough
(Brown & Hesketh 2004, Moreau & Leathwood 2006, Tomlinson

Number of graduates has doubled since
(Branine 2008, Rae 2007)

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

The philosophical argument

A threat to academic freedom
Kreber 2006, Moreau & Leathwood 2006)

The “Elitist” view
(Brown & Harvey 2004)

The economic argument

Funding issues, student number targets and widening
(Kreber 2006, Rae 2007)

The willingness argument

Are HEIs willing and able to change the way they teach?

Post 92 Universities appear to be better at doing so
(Hefce 2001,
Harvey 2005)

The ability argument

Employability is better and more easily developed outside of
the formal curriculum

Work experience is what counts
(Hefce 2001, 2004, Yorke
2004, 2006, Andrews and Higson 2008)

The effectiveness argument

Employability does not necessarily lead to increased
(Rothwell et al 2008)

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Employability matters to us:

HEIs are increasingly expected and pushed to
provide “oven ready” employees

Increasingly we will be measured on
our employability statistics

By those choosing university

By funders of education

(DIUS 2008, T.H.E. Sept. 2010)

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Introduction to the complexity of

Group activity/discussion on the meaning
of employability

The student perspective

Research from Portsmouth

How can we develop the employability of
our graduates

Sharing ideas

Future directions

The hunt for the “Midi


C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

“A contentious concept with a plethora of
” Harvey (2005:13)

Is it simply attractiveness to employers?

Is it just getting a job?

”a set of achievements, skills, understandings and
personal attributes, that make graduates more likely
to gain employment and be successful in their chosen
occupations, which benefits themselves, the
workforce, the community and the economy


Should the focus be on the EMPLOY or the ABILITY?

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

an “Oven ready”
employee, who can
“Hit the ground
(DIUS 2008)

Generic skills, Attributes, Characteristics,
Values, Competencies, Qualities,
professional skills, Abilities etc.

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Perceived differently by different parties
Jones, Sutherland & Cross (2006)

The main interested parties:








Research available for all these groups with
the exception of current students

where it is
very limited.

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Experience as an Admissions tutor

Experience encouraging the development of
employability skills at level 1

Personal tutoring level 2 students

Feedback from the placements office

Teaching “Career management” Unit at level 2

The Marmite unit!

Why the difference?

Why do we bother?

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

The missing

Focus groups with the exception of level 3, non
placement students where data was collected by
questionnaire. Autumn term 2009.

Level ONE

16 groups, est. 160 students (50% of
population) in week 2

Level TWO

22 groups, est. 200 students (65% of
population) in week 1


15 students (5% of the population) in week 4

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

What is your understanding of the term employability?

What if any are the core skills or transferable skills that
might make up employability?


For level one students

To what extent do you expect the university to
support the development of your employability and

To what extent did this affect your choice of

For all other groups

How much does university support the development
of your employability and how?

To what extent do you think employability matters?

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Some alignment between the views of our students
and the literature on the definition of employability

Skills linked to the needs of employers

Communication skills, Team working, IT skills and Planning &

Personal attributes

Flexibility/adaptability, hard working, committed, dedicated

However there are differences by level:

Levels 1 and 2, quite superficial

Fairly narrow range of items, fewer mentions, uneven

They know the words to use, but.....

Level 3 students much more attuned

14 times as many items mentioned and much more even

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

All levels and groups
employability mattered

All stated the individual benefits with a focus on getting a job,
any job

Much less mention was made of quality of job and benefits to
others such as employers or society

However much less genuine concern at levels 1 and 2

Far fewer responses

Less anxious

Not unanimous

specific answers

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

How to develop employability

Top of the list for all levels on university support were:

and placement office, CV writing support, Purple door

But again at levels 1 and 2 we see contradictory evidence

Say placements are very important

But did not rate experience highly as part of what employability is?

Embedded activities, mentioned much less frequently

Presentations, working with others, developing communication skills,
managing themselves

Student driven activities received fewer mentions still

Societies, Volunteering etc

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Increasing the understanding or what
employability is and why it matters

Increase concern over grades at level 1

Increase motivation to develop employability

Examine the embedded activities

Be more overt?

Increasing real awareness of the value of
experience, at a much earlier stage

Do something to raise the profile of student
driven activities

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

What ideas do you have for increasing
development of employability?

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

What if we could find an easy way
to improve our employability

Research into the literature
uncovered the concept of
“proactive personality” (P.P.) or
“personal initiative” (P.I.)

Evidence suggests this is far more
important than skills and many
other personal attributes

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

“Proactive behaviour is future focussed and mindful
…………..When employees choose to behave
proactively, they are focussed on the goal of
meaningfully altering the self, others, or the
contexts in which they are situated”
Crant & Ashford

“P.I. is a work behaviour defined as self
starting and
proactive that overcomes barriers to achieve a
Frese & Fay (2001:133)

Different from the Big 5.

P.P. positively predicts a number of criterion
variables over and above the big 5.
(Bateman & Crant
1993, Chan 2006)

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Increases organizational and individual
(Fay & Frese 2001)

So valued by employers

People high in P.P.. receive:

Improved SUBJECTIVE evaluations of performance
by direct supervisors in various contexts
Hester & Cox 2010, Fuller & Marler , 2009, Thompson 2005)

Improved OBJECTIVE evaluations and ACTUAL
performance as measured via company appraisal
(Fuller, Hester & Cox 2010)

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

People high on P.P. benefit from:

Improved career progression and
(Erdogan & Bauer 2005, Seibert et al 2001)

Higher salaries more frequent promotions
and more satisfying careers
(Seibert et al 1999)

“A one
point increase in the proactive
personality scale was associated with an
$8,677 increase in yearly salary after
controlling for other variables”

(Seibert, Crant
and Kraimer 1999:423)

People high in P.P.

Find jobs more quickly and rebound better
from unemployment
(Frese & Fay 2001)

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Maybe those high on P.P. could be:

More engaged with employability development
at University

Or even studying itself

More likely to get better grades?

Further enhancing their employability

So maybe we should be recruiting
students who are higher on P.P.?

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

In the world of “Star Wars”, it is believed that
“Jedi Knights” are born and not made.

“Candidates to become Jedi Knights are
detected, identified and taken into the order as
infants where their inherent attributes are
developed and honed by intensive training.
of detection is through blood sampling
with those who have great “Force” potential
often having high midi
chlorian counts in their

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

People high in P.P.

Are more likely to invest in their social and
human capital?
(Crant & Ashford 2008)

Actively network
(Byrne, Dik and Chiaburu, 2008,
Thompson 2005)

Proactivity can be seen as a process:

Anticipating, Planning and Striving

Striving behaviours include:

Feedback seeking

Acting on feedback

Alternative seeking

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

How can we develop Proactive personality in
our students?

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Andrews, J. & Higson, H. (2009) Graduate Employability, “Soft Skills” versus “Hard Business Knowledge”:
A European Study.
Higher Education in Europe
. 33:411

Bateman, T. & Crant, M. (1993) The proactive component of organizational behaviour: A measure and
Journal of Organizational Behavior
. 14:103

Brown, T. with Harvey, L. (2004) Are there too many graduates in the UK? A literature review and an analysis
of graduate employability.
Industry and Higher Education.

August 2004:243

Branine, M. (2008) Graduate recruitment and selection in the UK. A study of recent changes in methods
and expectations.
Career Development International
. 13 (6):497

Brown, p. & Hesketh , A. ( 2004) The mismanagement of talent: Employability and jobs in the knowledge
economy Oxford. Oxford university press

Byrne, Z., Dik, B. & Chiaburu, D. (2008) Alternatives to traditional mentoring in fostering career success.
Journal of Vocational Behavior
. 72:429

Chan, D. (2006) Interactive Effects of Situational Judgement Effectiveness and Proactive personality on
Work perceptions and Work Outcomes.
Journal of Applied Psychology.

91 (2) 475

Crant, A. (2000) Proactive behaviour in organisations.
Journal of management
. 26:435


Crant, A. & Ashford, S. (2008) The dynamics of proactivity at work.
Research in Organizational behaviour.


DIUS Consultation report (2008). Accessed at (2004) Are graduate employability initiatives worth it? GTI specialist Publishers
Wallingford. Oxon.

Erdogan, B. & Bauer, T. (2005) Enhancing career benefits of employee proactive personality: the role of
fit with jobs and organisations.
Personnel Psychology
. 58: 859

Fay, D. & Frese, M. (2001) The Concept of Personal Initiative: An overview of Validity Studies.
. 14 (1):97

Frese, M. & Fay, D. (2001) Personal Initiative: An Active Performance Concept for the 21

Research in Organizational behaviour
. 23:133

Fuller, Jr, J., Hester, K. & Cox, S. (2010) Proactive Personality and Job performance: Exploring Job
Autonomy as a Moderator.
Journal of Managerial issues
. XXII 1:35

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011

Fuller, B. & Marler, L. (2009) Change driven by nature: A meta
analytic review of the proactive
personality literature.
Journal of Vocational Behaviour
. 75:329

Harvey, L. (2005) Embedding and Integrating Employability.
New Directions for Institutional Research.


Hefce (2001) How Much Does Higher Education Enhance the Employability of Graduates?
A summary report

Jones, S. & Sutherland, E. (2006) The Graduate: Are we giving employers what they want?
The University of Leeds Teaching and learning Conference

Kreber, C. (2006) Setting the Context: The Climate of University Teaching and Learning.
New Directions for
Higher Education
. 133:5

Moreau, M.P. and Leathwood, C. (2006) Graduates` employment and the discourse of
employability: a critical analysis.
Journal of Educations and Work
. 19:305

Rae, D. (2007) Connecting enterprise and graduate employability. Challenges to the higher education culture
and curriculum?
Education and Training


Seibert,S., Crant,J. & Kraimer,M. (1999) Proactive Personality and Career Success.
Journal of
Applied psychology
. 84 (3) 416

Seibert, S., Kraimer, M.,Crant, J. (2001) What do proactive people do? A longitudinal model
linking proactive personality and career success.
Personnel psychology
. 54, 845

Thompson, J. (2005) proactive personality and Job Performance: A Social Capital perspective.
Journal of Applied Psychology
. 90 (5) 1011

Tomlinson, M. (2008) `The degree is not enough`: Students` perceptions of the role of higher
education credentials for graduate work and employability. British
Journal of Sociology of
. 29 (1):49

Yorke, M. (2004) Employability in the Undergraduate Curriculum: Some student perspectives.
Journal of Education
. 39:409

C.O.R.D. University of Portsmouth 2011