The Relevance of Higher Education Qualifications
to Employability:
An Exploratory Study
into Perspectives of
Employers and Graduates
in Three Selected Industries

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Principal Investigator
Dr Lam Oi Yeung Beatrice
Assistant Professor
The Open University of Hong Kong
Dr Tang Hei Hang, hayes
Research Fellow of APCLC
& Assistant Professor of EPL
The Education University of Hong Kong

Funding Source
The Open University of Hong Kong
Project Duration
January - July 2021


The project builds upon the findings of an earlier study on school-to-work transition and explores workplace demands of higher education graduates from the perspective of young workers and employers in three industries: healthcare, information technology, and cultural and creative industries. It probes (i) the graduate attributes, skills and/or qualities demanded and valued in workplace; and (ii) the relevance of degree or sub- degree training and qualifications to employability. It inquiries into changing understandings of what qualifies one as ‘employable’ at a time of labour market flexibilization and perceivably declining graduate prospects. 6 employers and 6 graduates will be purposively sampled and recruited from the aforesaid industries, all with keen manpower demand but different training and qualifications requirements and variable occupational pathways for graduates. Data derived from semi-structured interviews with employers and graduates can be triangulated; this permits the examination of how meanings of ‘employability’ are mutually and dynamically constructed and negotiated in specific institutional contexts.

The project will serve as a pilot study that informs the design of a survey intended for the preparation of a Hong Kong Research Grants Council's Faculty Development Scheme (FDS) proposal for a larger-scale mixed-methods research on graduate employability that carries important implications for policy and practice in higher education.