Towards a new understanding of the role of higher education: Factors impacting the employability of Portuguese graduates

Sílvia Monteiro, Leandro Almeida, Adela Garcia-Aracil
The current international socioeconomic context has been emphasising the need of a new set of indi-vidual competencies in order to succeed in the professional world. A new concept of employabil-ity has also emerged, with a person-centred ap-proach, which reflects the need to deal effectively with career-related changes (Fugate, Kinicki, & Ashforth, 2004). In a psychosocial perspective, it is assumed an individual ability to adapt to social expectations and to behave according to the changing conditions (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012). On the other hand, the last decade represented a period of profound transformations in the Euro-pean space of higher education, driven by Bologna guidelines. Higher education institutions are ex-pected to adapt new ways of work organization, promoting new core competencies in future pro-fessionals. In this context, the paper will describe a research project which aims to identify and analyse the impact factors on the employability of Portuguese graduates. Following the literature about the graduates’ professional transition, a set of career competencies and soft competencies are high-lighted. This project represents an attempt to a closer and necessary articulation between higher education practices and labour market require-ments.