The notion of employability has become a focal point of higher education in many countries’ strategies to prepare students for employment. Responses to this notion can differ largely from country to country and from university to university, based on their historical, political, and economic contexts. However, very little has been researched in terms of these differences. More investigation in this area is needed to conceptualise patterns of universities’ orientations towards the employment of their graduates. In this article, we utilised comparative institutional analysis as a conceptual framework to discuss differences in the practices deployed by universities in Australia and Japan to prepare their students for employment. We found that Australian universities have widely applied the so-called ‘potential maximisation mode’ with a focus on teaching technical knowledge and professional skills for increased employability. However, the ‘results maximisation mode’ has been widely utilised by Japanese universities, stressing the role of universities and academics in ensuring the use of actual graduates to connect students to potential industries directly or creating mentoring opportunities for current students and alumni.
- comparative institutional analysis
- higher education