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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 Ideal of the Graduate Worker

The Ideal of the Graduate Worker

Chapter:
(p.166) 9 The Ideal of the Graduate Worker
Source:
Graduate Work
Author(s):

Gerbrand Tholen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198744481.003.0009

This final chapter concludes the book and reflects on the findings described in the previous chapters. The chapter explains how the idealized version of graduate workers (as being a distinct labour market grouping aligned with high-skilled, high-waged employment) has not really wavered. To understand the status of graduate workers as a group we need to understand the symbolic power graduates hold within the labour market (through symbolic categorization and classification). Yet the case studies also show that the meanings of graduate work, skills, and occupations vary, leaving room for interpretation and contention. The chapter reflects on the role of higher education in the labour market, how we can improve our understanding of graduate work, and what this means for debates about skill policy and social mobility.

Keywords:   graduate employment, graduates, symbolic closure, higher education, status

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