Science students’ conceptions of factors that will differentiate them in the graduate employment market




employability, work-integrated learning, student voice, student engagement, career development, curriculum


To gain employment and a fulfilling career, students need to understand the skills and knowledge that are important and how to articulate and evidence their employability. Here we report on research investigating science students’ priorities related to immediate employment vs. long-term employability and the factors that students perceive as important to these. We interviewed 138 science students from four Australian universities and found that they were most focused on immediate employment. Students were keen to participate in opportunities to ‘value add’ to their degree, especially those that might help them to gain relevant work experience and professional networks. However, students’ understanding of the relative importance of experiences and skills that would enhance their employability was variable, as was their understanding of the career pathways that they might pursue. Our analysis highlights the importance of explicitly designing curriculum to help students understand the career opportunities available; the skills and abilities needed for diverse careers; and the experiences through which they might develop and evidence these. Furthermore, to engage students, we need to help them to address their greatest and most immediate concerns about gaining employment at graduation, while also setting them up for successful and fulfilling careers.


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Author Biographies

  • Trina Jorre de St Jorre, Deakin University, Australia

    Lecturer, Graduate Employability, Deakin Learning Futures, Deakin University.

  • Joanne Elliott, Deakin University, Australia

    Research Fellow, Deakin Learning Futures, Deakin University.

  • Elizabeth D Johnson, Deakin University, Australia

    Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning, Deakin University.

  • Stewart Bisset, Deakin University, Australia

    Research Assistant, Deakin Learning Futures, Deakin University.


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How to Cite

Science students’ conceptions of factors that will differentiate them in the graduate employment market. (2019). Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 10(1), 27-41.