Beyond human capital: student preparation for graduate life

Kelly Benati, Juan Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This research moves beyond a focus on employability skills and explores student perceptions of preparedness for graduate life in a more holistic manner. Design/methodology/approach: Final-year business students were asked to outline their concerns regarding graduate life and the personal and professional challenges anticipated in their careers. The results are presented in the context of graduate capitals, which is a broader view than the more traditional skills-based approach. Findings: The results indicate students do not feel underprepared for the workplace in terms of human capital, social capital, cultural capital and identity capital. However, many students feel inadequately prepared in terms of psychological capital and their ability to deal with the expected challenges of the workplace such as stress, long hours and the demands of a professional environment. Research limitations/implications: This study extends our knowledge of student preparation for the workplace and suggests research opportunities to better understand psychological capital development in graduates. Practical implications: Greater confidence and a perception of preparedness may be increased for graduates if opportunities for psychological capital development and increased promotion of its importance are enhanced. Social implications: The results encourage a more holistic approach to employability in graduates and have relevance for all stakeholders concerned with graduate outcomes and workplace transition. Originality/value: The paper presents work-readiness in the context of graduate capitals, which is broader than the traditional skills-based approach. It also focuses on student perceptions of their level of preparation for the workplace. This has enabled results which highlight psychological capital development as a key area in which students feel underprepared.

Original languageEnglish
Article number655603
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalEducation and Training
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Graduate capitals
  • Graduate life
  • Graduate perceptions
  • Graduate preparation
  • Psychological capital

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