Graduate Employability: Critical Perspectives

  • Thi Tuyet TranEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 50)


This chapter discusses the issues beyond the skill agenda provided by higher education. It argues that graduate employability in Vietnam is a complex issue and that the effort of sole universities will not create a positive change. It calls for a more productive collaboration and better understanding of mutual responsibility among all related stakeholders in enhancing graduate employability in Vietnam.


  1. Andrews, J., & Higson, H. (2008). Graduate employability, ‘soft skills’ versus ‘hard’ business knowledge: A European study. Higher Education in Europe, 33(4), 411–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Artess, J., Forbes, P., & Ripmeester, N. (2011). Supporting graduate employability: HEI practice in other countries (BIS Research Paper Number 40). London: BIS.Google Scholar
  3. Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry & Business Council of Australia. (2002). Employability skills for the future. Canberra: Department of Education, Science and Training.Google Scholar
  4. Barrie, S. C. (2006). Understanding what we mean by the generic attributes of graduates. Higher Education, 51(2), 215–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bisoux, T. (2015). Business education jam: Continuing the conversation. Retrieved 20 September, 2015, from
  6. Boden, R., & Nedeva, M. (2010). Employing discourse: Universities and graduate ‘employability’. Journal of Education Policy, 25(1), 37–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooks, R., & Everett, G. (2009). Post-graduate reflections on the value of a degree. British Educational Research Journal, 35(3), 333–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, P., & Lauder, H. (2009). Economic globalisation, skill formation and the consequences for higher education. In S. Ball, M. Apple, & L. Gandin (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of sociology of education (pp. 229–240). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, P., Hesketh, A., & Williams, S. (2003). Employability in a knowledge-driven economy. Journal of Education and Work, 16(2), 107–126.Google Scholar
  10. Caballero, C. L., Walker, A., & Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M. (2011). The work readiness scale (WRS): Developing a measure to assess work readiness in college graduates. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 2(2), 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cabellero, C. L., & Walker, A. (2010). Work readiness in graduate recruitment and selection: A review of current assessment methods. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 1(1), 13–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cable, V. (2010). A new era for universities Speech delivered by the Secretatry of State on Higher Education: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable.Google Scholar
  13. Chalamwong, Y., Hongprayoon, K., Suebnusorn, W., Doung, N. A., Chan, S., & Dyna, H. (2012). Skills for employability: Southeast Asia. Washington, DC: Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).Google Scholar
  14. Clark, H. F. (1930). Economic effects of education. The Journal of Higher Education, 1(3), 141–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clarke, M. (2007). Understanding and managing employability in changing career contexts. Journal of European Industrial, 32(4), 258–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clarke, M. (2008). Understanding and managing employability in changing career contexts. Journal of European Industrial Training, 32(4), 258–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cooper, L., Orrell, J., & Bowden, M. (2010). Work integrated learning: A guide to effective practice. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Cunningham, W., & Villaseñor, P. (2014). Employer voices, employer demands, and implications for public skills development policy (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 6853). World Bank.Google Scholar
  19. Department for Business Innovation and Skills (DIUS). (2008). Higher education at work – High skills: High value. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  20. Department for Education. (2010). Securing a sustainable future for higher education (the Browne review). London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  21. Dewey, J. D., Montrosse, B. E., Schröter, D. C., Sullins, C. D., & Mattox, J. R. (2008). Evaluator competencies What’s taught versus What’s sought. American Journal of Evaluation, 29(3), 268–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Elder, S. (2014). Labour market transitions of young women and men in Asia and the Pacific. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  23. Etzkowitz, H. (2004). The evolution of the entrepreneurial university. International Journal of Technology and Globalisation, 1(1), 64–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. European Commission. (2003). The role of the universities in the Europe of knowledge. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  25. European Commission. (2005). Mobilising the brainpower of Europe: Enabling universities to make their full contribution to the Lisbon Strategy. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  26. European Commission. (2011). Supporting growth and jobs – An agenda for the modernisation of Europe’s higher education systems. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  27. Fatseas, M. (2010). Research-industry cooperation supporting development in Vietnam: The challenge of translating policy into practice. In G. Harman, M. Hayden, & P. T. Nghi (Eds.), Reforming higher education in Vietnam: Challenges and priorities (pp. 103–116). London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ferns, S., & Moore, K. (2012). Assessing student outcomes in fieldwork placements: An overview of current practice. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 13(4), 207–224.Google Scholar
  29. Ferns, S., Campbell, M., & Zegwaad, K. (2014). Work integrated learning. In S. Ferns (Ed.), Work integrated learning in the curriculum (pp. 1–6). Milperra: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia HERDSA.Google Scholar
  30. Gault, J., Redington, J., & Schlager, T. (2000). The benefits of undergraduate business internships: Implications for the student, university, and business community. Journal of Marketing Education, 22(1), 45–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. George, E. S. (2010). Higher education in Vietnam 1986–1998: Education in transition to a new era? In G. Harman, M. Hayden, & P. T. Nghi (Eds.), Reforming higher education in Vietnam (pp. 31–50). London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gibbs, S., Steel, G., & Kuiper, A. (2011). Expectations of competency: The mismatch between employers’ and graduates’ views of end-user computing skills requirements in the workplace. Journal of Information Technology Education, 10(1), 371–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hager, P., & Holland, S. (2006). Graduate attributes, learning and employability. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Handel, M. J. (2003). Skills mismatch in the labor market. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 135–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hanh, H. (2016). The need to restructure colleges and universities who are facing difficulties in recruiting students (Sẽ cơ cấu lại các trường đại học, cao đẳng gặp khó khăn về tuyển sinh). Retrieved 26 April, 2016, from
  36. Harman, G., & Nguyen, T. B. N. (2010). The research role’s of Vietnam’s universities. In G. Harman, M. Hayden, & P. T. Nghi (Eds.), Reforming higher education in Vietnam (pp. 87–102). London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Harvey, L. (2000). New realities: The relationship between higher education and employment. Tertiary Education and Management, 6(1), 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Harvey, L. (2001). Defining and measuring employability. Quality in Higher Education, 7(2), 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Helyer, R., Lee, D., & Evans, A. (2011). Hybrid HE: Knowledge, skills and innovation. Work Based Learning e-Journal, 1(2), 18–34.Google Scholar
  40. HERA. (2005). Vietnamese government resolution on substantial and comprehensive renewal of Vietnam’s tertiary education in the 2006–2020 period (No 14/2005/NQ-CP).Google Scholar
  41. Hernández-March, J., Martín del Peso, M., & Leguey, S. (2009). Graduates’ skills and higher education: The employers’ perspective. Tertiary Education and Management, 15(1), 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hillage, J., & Pollard, E. (1998). Employability: Developing a framework for policy analysis. London: Department for Education and Employment.Google Scholar
  43. Huynh, N. L. (2012). Đào tạo đáp ứng nhu cầu thị trường lao động (Training for the employment market). Paper presented at the Đào tạo, nghiên cứu khoa học và chuyển giao công nghệ gắn kết với nhu cầu doanh nghiệp (Training, research and technology transfer vs enterprise demands), Dong Nai, Vietnam.Google Scholar
  44. Hytti, U., & O’Gorman, C. (2004). What is “enterprise education”? An analysis of the objectives and methods of enterprise education programmes in four European countries. Education and Training, 46(1), 11–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Itim international’s HOFSTEDE CENTRE. (2014). Hosftede center: Vietnam. Retrieved 8 March, 2016, from
  46. Jarvis, P. (2002). The changing university: Meeting a need and needing to change. Higher Education Quarterly, 54(1), 43–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kandri, S.-E., Bjarnason, S., & Elsadig, A. (2011). Education for employment: Realizing Arab youth potential. Washington, DC: International Finance Corporation, World Bank Group.Google Scholar
  48. Knight, P. (2001). Employability and quality. Quality in Higher Education, 7(2), 93–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Knight, P., & Yorke, M. (2004). Learning, curriculum and employability in higher education. London: Routledge Falmer.Google Scholar
  50. Kogan, I., Noelke, C., & Gebel, M. (2011). Making the transition: Education and labor market entry in Central and Eastern Europe. Stanford: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Le, C. T., & Truong, Q. (2005). Human resource management practices in a transitional economy: A comparative study of enterprise ownership forms in Vietnam. Asia Pacific Business Review, 11(1), 25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lee, M. N., & Healy, S. (2006). Higher education in South-East Asia: An overview. Bangkok: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  53. Leong, R., & Kavanagh, M. (2013). A work-integrated learning (WIL) framework to develop graduate skills and attributes in an Australian university’s accounting program. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 14(1), 1–14.Google Scholar
  54. Little, B., & Arthur, L. (2010). Less time to study, less well prepared for work, yet satisfied with higher education: A UK perspective on links between higher education and the labour market. Journal of Education and Work, 23(3), 275–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D., & Lewin, J. (2011). Employers’ perceptions of the employability skills of new graduates. London: SCRE Centre/Edge Foundation, University of Glasgow.Google Scholar
  56. McKinsey & Company, & The Conference Board. (2012). The state of human capital 2012: False summit – Why the human capital function still has far to go (Research Report No. R-1501-12-RR). McKinsey and Company, The Conference Board.Google Scholar
  57. McQuaid, R. W. (2006). Job search success and employability in local labor markets. The Annals of Regional Science, 40, 407–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs, & General Statistics Office. (2015). Newsletter for Vietnam’s Labour Market Update (Vol. 5, Quarter 1–2015). Hanoi: Ministry of Labor - Invalids and Social Affairs.Google Scholar
  59. Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs, & General Statistics Office. (2016). Newsletter for Vietnam’s Labour Market Update (Vol. 10, Quarter 2–2016). Hanoi: Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs.Google Scholar
  60. MOET. (2008). National Foreign Language 2020 Project. Hanoi: Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training.Google Scholar
  61. MOET. (2013). Thống kê 2013 (2013 statistics). Retrieved 14 October, 2015, from
  62. MOET. (2015). Education and training statistics report 2011–2015. Hanoi: Ministry of Education and Training.Google Scholar
  63. Mourshed, M., Farrell, D., & Barton, D. (2012). Education to employment: Designing a system that works. Washington, DC: McKinsey Center for Government, McKinsey & Company.Google Scholar
  64. Nguyen, H. L. (2014). Nghiên cứu đánh giá mức độ hài lòng của doanh nghiệp về chất lượng đào tạo nhân lực trình độ đại học ở Việt Nam (Business satisfaction levels for the quality of manpower training at universities in Vietnam). Doctor of Philosophy, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Hanoi.Google Scholar
  65. Nguyen, P.-M., Terlouw, C., & Pilot, A. (2005). Cooperative learning vs Confucian heritage culture’s collectivism: Confrontation to reveal some cultural conflicts and mismatch. Asia Europe Journal, 3(3), 403–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Nicolescu, L., & Paun, C. (2009). Relating higher education with the labour market: Graduates’ expectations and employers’ requirements. Tertiary Education and Management, 15(1), 17–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pham, T. H. (2008). Higher education in Vietnam: A look from labour market angle. Hanoi: Vietnam Development Forum.Google Scholar
  68. Pham, T. N. (2010). The higher education agenda: A vision for 2020. In G. Harman, M. Hayden, & P. T. Nghi (Eds.), Reforming higher education in Vietnam: Challenges and priorities (pp. 51–64). London: Springer.Google Scholar
  69. Pham, T. L. (2013). Quan điểm của doanh nghiệp về hợp tác với các trường đại học ở Việt Nam (Enterprises’ perspective of the collaboration with universities in Vietnam). Hanoi: POHE Project, Ministry of Education and Training.Google Scholar
  70. Pham, L. H., & Fry, G. W. (2004). Universities in Vietnam: Legacies, challenges, and prospects. In P. A. Altbach & T. Umakoshi (Eds.), Asian universities: Historical perspectives and contemporary challenges (pp. 301–331). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Pham, T. L., Bui, A. T., & Dongelmans, B. (2013). Vietnamese higher education responsiveness toward the needs of the industry: Impact evaluation of the POHE projects and questions for developing university-industry interaction. Paper presented at the university-industry interaction conference proceedings: Challenges and solutions for fostering entrepreneurial universities and collaborative innovation, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  72. Postiglione, G. A. (2011). Global recession and higher education in eastern Asia: China, Mongolia and Vietnam. Higher Education, 62(6), 789–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ramburuth, P., & McCormick, J. (2001). Learning diversity in higher education: A comparative study of Asian international and Australian students. Higher Education, 42, 333–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rust, C., & Froud, L. (2011). ‘Personal literacy’: The vital, yet often overlooked, graduate attribute. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 2(1), 28–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sala, G. (2011). Approaches to skills mismatch in the labour market: A literature review. Papers: revista de sociologia, 96, 1025–1045.Google Scholar
  76. Scott, P. (2005). Universities and the knowledge economy. Minerva, 43(3), 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Smith, J., Meijer, G., & Kielly-Coleman, N. (2010). Assurance of learning: The role of work integrated learning and industry partners. In M. Campbell (Ed.), Work integrated learning: Responding to challenges (pp. 409–419). Perth: Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) Incorporated, Curtin University of Technology.Google Scholar
  78. Stone, G., Lightbody, M., & Whait, R. (2013). Developing accounting students’ listening skills: Barriers, opportunities and an integrated stakeholder approach. Accounting Education, 22(2), 168–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Taylor, P. (2013). Putting theory to work–aka ‘if you don’t like academia, why don’t you leave?’. Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, 13(4), 851–860.Google Scholar
  80. Teichler, U. (2007). Does higher education matter? Lessons from a comparative graduate survey. European Journal of Education, 42(1), 11–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Tomlinson, M. (2012). Graduate employability: A review of conceptual and empirical themes. Higher Education Policy, 25(4), 407–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Tomusk, V. (2004). Three bolognas and a pizza pie: Notes on institutionalization of the European higher education system. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 14(1), 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Tran, N. C. (2006). Universities as drivers of the urban economies in Asia: The case of Vietnam (Policy Research Working Paper). World Bank.Google Scholar
  84. Tran, T. T. (2012a). Graduate employability: Interpretation versus expectation. In N. Brown, S. M. Jones, & A. Adam (Eds.), Research and development in higher education: Connections in higher education (Vol. 35, pp. 317–325). Hobart: HERDSA.Google Scholar
  85. Tran, T. T. (2012b). Vietnamese higher education and the issue of enhancing graduate employability. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 3(1), 64–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Tran, T. T. (2013a). Count the uncounted: Rumors, corruption and luck in job seeking by Vietnamese university graduates. Journal of Asian Critical Education, 2, 3–12.Google Scholar
  87. Tran, T. T. (2013b). Is the learning approach of students from the Confucian heritage culture problematic? Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 12(1), 57–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Tran, T. T. (2013c). The perception of employability and the subsequent role of higher education in Vietnam. Journal of the World Universities Forum, 6(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Tran, T. T. (2014). Graduate employability in Vietnam: A loose relationship between higher education and employment market. Hamburg: Anchor Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
  90. Tran, T. T. (2015a). Is graduate employability the ‘whole-of-higher-education-issue’? Journal of Education and Work, 28(3), 207–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Tran, T. T. (2015b). Youth transition to employment in Vietnam: A vulnerable path of transition. Paper presented at the 20th international research conference on business, economics and social sciences, IRC-2015, Istanbul, Turkey.Google Scholar
  92. Tran, T. T. (2016). Chất lượng đầu ra của giáo dục đại học (The outcome quality of Vietnam higher education). In CERA (Ed.), Báo cáo thường niên giáo dục Việt nam 2015 (Vietnam Annual Education Report 2015) (pp. 78–104). Hanoi: Vietnam National University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Tran, Q. T., & Swierczek, F. W. (2009). Skills development in higher education in Vietnam. Asia Pacific Business Review, 15(4), 565–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Truong, Q. D. (2006). Quality of business graduates in Vietnamese institutions: Multiples perspectives. Journal of Management Development, 26(7), 629–643.Google Scholar
  95. UNESCO. (2012). Graduate employability in Asia. Bangkok: Asia Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, UNESCO Bangkok.Google Scholar
  96. Vietnamese Government. (2015). Về việc thực hiện Luật Giáo dục đại học và vấn đề giải quyết việc làm cho sinh viên tốt nghiệp (Report on the implementation of higher education law and the issue of employment for recent graduates) (Report Number 174/BC-CP).Google Scholar
  97. Weligamage, S. S. (2009). Graduates’ employability skills: Evidence from literature review. Kelaniya: University of Kelaniya.Google Scholar
  98. World Bank. (2008). Vietnam: Higher education and skills for growth (p. 195). Hanoi: Human Development Department East Asia and Pacific Region.Google Scholar
  99. World Bank. (2012). Putting higher education to work, skill and research for growth in East Asia (World bank East Asia and Lacific Regional Report, p. 195). Washingon, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  100. World Economic Forum. (2015). The global competitiveness report 2015–2016. Geneva: World Economic Forum.Google Scholar
  101. Yorke, M. (2006). Employability in higher education: What it is – What it is not (Vol. 1). York: The Higher Education Academy.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations