What is expected of higher education graduates in the 21st century?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In this chapter, we reflect on the skills higher education graduates are expected to have in today’s economy and the role of higher education in equipping graduates with these skills. First, we identify six trends which form the basis of the changing role of graduates in economic life. These trends are the knowledge society, increasing uncertainty, the ICT revolution, high performance workplaces, globalization, and the change of the economic structure. By changing the nature and range of tasks graduates are expected to fulfil in today’s economy, we argue that these trends generate new and intensify traditional skill demands, which we summarize as professional expertise, flexibility, innovation and knowledge management, mobilization of human resources, international orientation, and entrepreneurship. Second, we draw out some key issues concerning the role of higher education institutions in equipping graduates with these skills.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Skills and Training
EditorsJ. Buchanan, D. Finegold, K. Mayhew, C. Warhurst
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199655366
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Cite this