Employability rebooted: democratising the future of work

From fixes to foresight: Jisc and Emerge Education insights for universities and startups

employability rebooted report cover

There are more students from non-traditional backgrounds in higher education than ever before but their job outcomes often lag behind more privileged peers.

Pay gaps and pay penalties persist and the rise of the gig economy has further exacerbated these inequalities. Why is that, what can be done and what role can technology play in supporting students, universities, and employers?

This report considers the student and graduate journey from enrolment at university to first experience of the workplace, and focuses on key interactions and touchpoints between students, universities and employers along that journey.

By mapping out key points at which access to specific experiences or interventions can help or hinder the employment prospects of students from underrepresented backgrounds, we are able to highlight examples of best practice and specific opportunities for universities, employers or technology startups to provide more support.

The class of 2020

The first part of the report looks at the immediate crisis situation and the impact of COVID-19 on the ‘bridge to work’ of the graduating class of 2020. 

Through six case studies we explore the challenges faced by careers services in supporting students in these intense times, with a particular emphasis on the impact on students from non-traditional backgrounds and any extra barriers they may be facing.

The vision - towards 2030

The second part looks ahead to a vision of a more democratised employment journey in 2030, in which technology is used effectively at every step of the journey.

We suggest that in 2030, the employability journey must be:

  • Networked
  • Tailored
  • Accessible

From fixes to the future

The final part includes an employability journey market map. This identifies leading startup players that are set to transform each of the key steps in the employability journey as well as deliver a high-quality user experience for students and recent graduates.  

Find out more

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About this series of reports

These reports draw on the expertise of leaders from HE, employers and startups, through Jisc – Emerge Education advisory groups on specific topics, including the future of assessment, the employability journey of students from non-traditional backgrounds, student recruitment in challenging times, employer-university collaboration and the student mental health and wellbeing challenge. Other reports in the series include:

Download the full report (pdf)

Our project partners

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About the authors

Alexander Iosad
Alexander Iosad
Head of engagement, Emerge Education
sue attewell profile
Sue Attewell
Head of AI and co-design

I co-lead the national centre for AI in tertiary education. The centre's primary focus is on developing the AI literacy and skills of Jisc members and supporting institutions in identifying and responsibly adopting relevant AI products.