Information for staff

Why is employability important - to students?

This page outlines the importance of employability to students, in particular recognising 'a degree is no longer enough'.

To students:

To be employed is to be at risk, to be employable is to be secure

Peter Hawkins (1999)The Art of Building Windmills


  • ‘A degree is no longer enough’:  Following dramatic increases in HE provision in the UK and fundamental shifts in the graduate recruitment market, a degree is no longer enough to guarantee a graduate a satisfying future career. This is all the more true in light of the current economic climate. In many sectors, recruiters are looking for 'work-ready' graduates with clear evidence of job specific skills in addition to high level graduate attributes. To have the competitive advantage in the job market, students need to have developed their employability throughout their time at university.


  • Return on investment:  One of the main reasons students choose to study at university is to enhance their career prospects. This becomes increasingly important in view of rising costs of education and levels of debt on graduation, so individuals want to ensure it has been money well spent. This is even more of a driver for international students.


  • Engaging in the educational process:  Innovative teaching, learning and assessment methods help students engage in the education process and have the added benefit of also helping them to develop attributes which make them attractive to potential employers. Students’ interest is more likely to be maintained if they can see the relevance of their studies to their future careers and life beyond university.


  • Engaging in the whole student experience:  Students who make an effort to fully participate in the total student experience (academic, co-curricular, extra-curricular, including work experience) benefit from a well-rounded education, contribute fully to the life of the University and community and hopefully have fun in the process.