Rethinking capital: the role of social capital in graduate employment
Sakhile Phiri (Nelson Mandela University)
Mukupa Nsenduluka (Counterpart International )
Paper short abstract:
This paper analyses of how graduates make use of social capital,in addition to human capital and individual attributes, to find and secure employment. The different ways social capital expresses itself in graduate job search gives insight in addressing high levels of graduate unemployment in Zambia.
Paper long abstract:
Worldwide there is increasing pressure on universities from various stakeholders but in particular employers and graduates. Employers demand graduates that are work ready and adaptable to a dynamic labour market. In Sub - Saharan Africa, graduate view university as a means by which to aces high wage high skilled employment. As such, universities are invariably assessed, partially, by the ability of their graduates to find employment. Internationally, this is reflected by the growing emphasis on the measurement on graduate destinations. Despite this the transition from graduation to employment is still it assumed as being simple and direct. However, in Zambia, the reality is that a large number of graduates are jobless despite being educated. Furthermore, the transition from graduation to employment is far more complex. This paper reflects on a study that sought to analyse of how graduates make use of social capital, in addition to their credentialed human capital and individual attributes, to find and secure employment. We argue that the different ways social capital expresses itself in graduate job search patterns provides possible solutions and a different perspective to addressing the high levels of graduate unemployment in Zambia. Furthermore, we will argue that this research adds to our understanding of the interactions between higher education and society. This study adopted a qualitative case study research design and made use of the snow ball sampling approach. Fifteen semi structured interviews were conducted and findings and emerging themes analysed in response to research questions.
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