Graduates, Careers and Career Agency: What We Know and What We Need to Know

Griffith University, Australia

Griffith University, Australia

Griffith University, Australia


Understanding the nature of careers is essential for those working in higher education, as many staff – not simply those in careers services – influence graduating students' understanding of and attitudes towards their about-to-unfold careers. This paper integrates the careers literature with the literature on graduate transition to professional employment in order to raise debate about graduate career agency. A new perspective on careers, from graduates' viewpoints, is essential. Current careers research focuses mostly on organisational perspectives, so we need to explore graduates' perspectives to determine whether there is a connection between graduates' career orientation and a successful transition. This paper therefore brings the ‘graduate perspective' into the careers literature, arguing that greater understanding of graduates' career transition will inform and benefit all involved in higher education – and ultimately graduates themselves.

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