Enhancing Student Employability in Australian HE Institutions
Engaging students in career services preparation is more important now than it has ever been before. This is especially the case for students attending university in Australia. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “the proportion of graduates in full-time employment four months after finishing their degrees has plummeted over the past decade to 72.9 per cent last year from as high as 85.2 per cent in 2008.” There are a couple of factors that have influenced this change in employability, but the largest factor was student engagement. When students aren’t engaged with the employability opportunities offered through their universities, they aren’t able to develop their skill set.
Sharing ideas about how to best support students was the main focus during the annual National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (NAGCAS) conference held from November 27th to November 29th in Perth, Australia. NAGCAS is Australia’s peak professional body for career development in the higher and tertiary education sectors. Symplicity was an exhibitor at this year’s conference showcasing a variety of their career services products that include CSM and CareerHub. During the conference, a presentation was delivered by Symplicity CSM clients from the University of Tasmania and UNSW Business School. These clients presented on their latest initiatives that aim to improve student engagement through a more tailored and structured approach to student career planning and employer engagement.
For those that were unable to attend the presentation, below are the key points the University of Tasmania made.
Prior to making the decision to go with CSM, the University of Tasmania had to assess the risk involved. What they found was:
The university stakeholders were nervous about…
- Loss of employers
- Regional recruitment realities
- Careers fairs failing
- Decentralised industry engagement
- Distributed system management
The university stakeholders were frustrated by…
- ‘Stale’ employer database
- Limited local engagement
- Too many classified ads
- Jobs only focus of engagement
- A ‘little black book’ approach to engagement
With a new system like CSM, there were a lot of new opportunities the university could bring to their students such as:
- Conversation (re)starter
- Visual and practical enhancements such as profiling employers, socialising career planning, and professionalising the job application
- Highlighting on-campus opportunities
- Extending engagement options
- Re-positioning careers team
In the 15 months since the CSM ‘Go Live’ date, there are now 939 employers in the system (394 in Tasmania) which is a 64% increase and a $5000 promotional revenue.
Additionally, University of Tasmania saw that expending their employer network and opportunities led to…
- 140+ locally engaged employers (panels, on-campus events, interview panels, mini-expos)
- 32 new specialised internship providers
- Placement Plus programs
- UTAS ‘place-based’ Graduate Programs