Diagnosing Future Employability in Higher Education

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Lars Geer HAMMERSHOJ, Aarhus University, Denmark
The purpose of education is to prepare the new generations for living and working in society (Durkheim 1922). As the pace of change in society accelerates, however, it becomes less obvious what is the nature of the society that education should prepare for. Hence, today education is in urgent need of tools of orientation in order to determine the transformations of society.

The problem is that prognoses based on projections of exiting trends do not take into account that conditions change; on the other hand, scenarios of a shift from industrial to knowledge society tend to be too general and vague (OECD 1996, 2005). Instead, this paper attempts to diagnose what is important to learn in the future by employing social-analytical diagnosis of the times (Schmidt 2011; Hammershøj 2015).

The diagnosis consist of two traits: First, an interpretation of the tendencies of future employment drawing on specific analyses of the knowledge economy (Foray 2004, 2006) and studies of the probability of the risk of jobs being automated (Frey and Osborne 2013). These tendencies indicate how the conditions of future employment are changing.

Second, diagnosis of the times consists in a novel conceptualization constructed on the basis of these conditions. The idea is to construct a new concept of future employability in higher education using the Neo-humanistic educational concept of Bildung (Humboldt 1809) Employability is defined as the graduate’s likeliness of gaining employment and of continuing to be successful in his or hers occupations (Yorke 2004, 2006).

The findings of the paper is that future employability consists in both ‘academic Bildung’ concerning the way the person relates to knowledge and ‘vocational Bildung’ concerning the way the person relates professionally to his or hers profession which has three aspects: interest in the job, professional judgment and being creative and innovative.