Disentangling the impact of social disadvantage on ‘becoming employable’: evidence from STEM student university-to-work transitions

Okay-Somerville, B. , Allison, I., Luchinskaya, D. and Scholarios, D. (2022) Disentangling the impact of social disadvantage on ‘becoming employable’: evidence from STEM student university-to-work transitions. Studies in Higher Education, 47(3), pp. 545-559. (doi: 10.1080/03075079.2020.1767052)

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This article aims to examine alternative explanations of social disadvantage on the university-to-work transition experiences of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. ‘Becoming employable’ during the university-to-work transition is reflected in three ways: students’ cognition/patterns of thinking (i.e. perceived employability); affect/emotion (i.e. anxiety); and career-related behaviour (i.e. job search and networking). To understand how social disadvantage affects ‘becoming employable’, we examine three potential explanations: students’ social background, type of higher education institution attended and individual financial strain. A cross-sectional survey design targeted at final year students in two UK Higher Education Institutions provided 288 survey responses. Findings show support for an institutional explanation to ‘becoming employable’. The study contributes to our understanding of social disadvantage during preparation for labour market entry and the ‘employable graduate’ identity construction process. Practical recommendations focus on alleviating some of the pressures on socially disadvantaged students.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Employability, graduate identity, STEM, social disadvantage, university-to-work transition.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scholarios, Prof Dora and Okay-Somerville, Dr Belgin
Authors: Okay-Somerville, B., Allison, I., Luchinskaya, D., and Scholarios, D.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Research Group:HRM/OB
Journal Name:Studies in Higher Education
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-174X
Published Online:19 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Society for Research into Higher Education
First Published:First published in Studies in Higher Education 47(3): 545-559
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300034University-to-work transitions: the role of career self-management in graduation employability and employment success.Belgin Okay-SomervilleBritish Academy (BRITACAD)SG132411BS - Management