This special issue expands the scope of a panel presentation at the Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference 2019 and makes two identified contributions to the field. First, drawing from existing literature, this introductory paper proposes three categorisations of employability as: outcomes approach, process approach and conceptual approaches. This moves beyond normative conceptualisation of employability from mostly the outcomes approach. The applicability of the categorisation is further enumerated by the diversity of contributions in this special issue that highlights (a) the complexity in the field and (b) the interrelatedness of the categories. Second, the special issue puts together a rarely combined collection of global perspectives on conceptualisations of employability, and insights from research on little studied groups in Western and non-Western contexts (the UK, Portugal, Australia, the Indo-Pacific Region, Germany, Kenya and Kazakhstan). The papers, therefore, illustrate the need to widen our scope of understanding employability beyond current dominant perspectives. The broadening that is required in employability discourses is further needed in view of unprecedented disruption brought on higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. This suggests the need to rethink our conceptualisations of employability amidst uncertainty and potential disruption to the future of work.


© 2021 The Authors. Higher Education Quarterly published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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Fakunle, O. & Higson, H. 2021, 'Interrogating theoretical and empirical approaches to employability in different global regions', Higher Education Quarterly, 75(4), pp. 525-534. https://doi.org/10.1111/hequ.12345

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Last updated: 03 September 2022
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