Graduate employability, employment and skills in the Covid-19 labour market

16th November 2020 : 17:00 - 18:00

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Dr James Robson, Department of Education

Location: Online - Microsoft Teams Live

Convener: Simon Marginson

Audience: Public



Covid-19 has had a huge global economic impact and it is now widely agreed that we are teetering on the edge of a youth unemployment crisis on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the 1980s.

With nearly 50% of young people in the UK going to university, a significant proportion of those entering the recession labour market will be graduates. Although often assumed to have an employability advantage, graduates are already reporting significant difficulties in finding work, challenges with finding placements/internships, or having had interviews cancelled. Commentators are consequently predicting higher numbers of unemployed and underemployed graduates than ever before leading to long-term economic scarring to career trajectories, lifetime earnings, and mental and physical wellbeing. This is likely to deepen existing economic, social and regional inequalities. At the same time, the pandemic has caused shifts in the nature of work related to digitalisation, automation and gigification to accelerate leading to rapid changes in skills demands.

This raises critical questions about the short and long-term implications of Covid-19 for graduate employment and employability and the HE sectors’ ability to meet rapidly evolving skills demands. This seminar, therefore, draws on data from two recent studies of graduate employment, graduate experiences of the labour market, and skills formation and deployment (funded by Oxford University and the AHRC) to examine these questions from both the perspectives of individual graduates and the HE-sector as a whole.

About the speaker

Dr James Robson is a Departmental Lecturer in Higher Education, Associate Director of SKOPE, and researcher at CGHE at Oxford University Department of Education. He is course convenor of the HE pathway on the MSc Education. His research is in the area of HE and tertiary education systems with a particularly focus on the intersection of education and employment, skills supply and demand, and research landscapes and the HE labour market.

Learn more about James here


This seminar will be of interest to everyone involved in the tertiary sector in a professional capacity as well as current and future students, policy makers, and the general public. The seminar will focus on the UK context but will be relevant to a global audience.