Employability: what is it and is it important

Creighton, Matthew (2007) Employability: what is it and is it important. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis examines and reaches conclusions about the nature and significance of employability, in relation to unemployed and disadvantaged groups. It establishes that despite the importance attached to the concept there is no consensus as to its meaning; that while for individuals it necessarily impacts on their employment outcomes, there is little consensus as to its significance for the working of labour markets and that the factors which may contribute to it occupy a wide spectrum. Different definitions can be mapped on this spectrum, which covers all of the characteristics of individuals, on the supply side of the labour market; and in some cases, aspects of the demand side as well. Having looked at the history of the term and the UK policy context, five strands of thought are derived. The most significant contrast is between narrow definitions focusing on the minimum characteristics needed to be able to work ('job-ready') and wide ones which encompass all of the factors which determine job entry outcomes. The thesis proceeds by examining labour market theory and empirical studies for what they can contribute to this enquiry. In both cases it is found that neither makes any substantial use of the term. However insights available from them are applied to consideration of the merits of different meanings of employability, and of its significance. The penultimate chapter reports a survey about the uses of the term by practitioners and policy-makers in Edinburgh and Glasgow; the meanings given to it; the factors thought to be important for the employability of jobseekers; and questions related to the services which they provided. This confirms the confusion associated with the meaning of the term but also indicates that in practice aspects of the demand side have little place in common usage. It also reveals that the most commonly-cited employability problems are self- confidence/self-esteem; and motivation/attitude. This contrasts with the balance implied in the definitions in the literature. In the final chapter conclusions are drawn which favour the narrow definitions, and draw attention to the issues revealed by the survey about self- confidence and motivation. They recognise however that the term will continue to be used in a variety of ways.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Labor relations
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-71129
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 10:49
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71129

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