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Graduate WorkSkills, Credentials, Careers, and Labour Markets$
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Gerbrand Tholen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744481

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198744481.001.0001

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The Role of Education

The Role of Education

Chapter:
(p.63) 5 The Role of Education
Source:
Graduate Work
Author(s):

Gerbrand Tholen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198744481.003.0005

This chapter assesses whether higher education within the four occupations performs as assumed according to the dominant discourse on graduate labour. The chapter aims to elucidate what the meaning and value of graduate education and university qualifications are within the four graduate occupations under investigation. The chapter examines how we can describe the meaning that higher education has within these occupations, whether the university degree functions as a credential, and to what extent higher education drives career progression. It shows that the significance of higher education differs between the occupations and tends to be overstated. Within a mass system of higher education, university credentials lose much of their value to employers and employees alike, certainly several years after graduation.

Keywords:   higher education, graduate skills, credentialism, graduate labour market, scientists, software engineers, financial analysts, press officers

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