Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Higher Education Research & Development


Taylor & Francis


School of Business and Law




Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia


Jackson, D., Lambert, C., Sibson, R., Bridgestock, R., & Tofa, M. (2024). Student employability-building activities: Participation and contribution to graduate outcomes. Higher Education Research & Development. Advance online publication.


Employability development has become a central concern of higher education, with many students attending university to enhance their employability and career development. Universities offer a range of curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular employability-building activities, including work-integrated learning, mentoring and career counselling. However, participation in these activities, barriers to engagement and their impact on employability are unclear. This paper examines student engagement in diverse employability-building activities, barriers impeding participation and their perspectives on how activities develop aspects of employability. The methodological approach encompassed an online survey of recent bachelor graduates (n = 324) from two Australian universities and focus groups to further explore participants’ experiences (n = 11). Findings showed relatively low participation rates in most activities, with the greatest engagement in external paid employment and work-related activities (e.g., internship). These activities were also perceived as the most useful for developing a sense of professional self, networks and securing work. Barriers to participation included work/study commitments, financial/health pressures and lack of confidence and awareness, somewhat varying by graduates’ background characteristics. Benefits from activities varied by their type, along with students’ personal characteristics. Findings highlight the importance of embedding employability-building activities in the curriculum and signal potential ways to increase engagement in diverse cohorts.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.