Dissertation: Employability of Foreign Higher Education Graduates in Germany

Employability of Foreign Higher Education Graduates in Germany

A Grounded Theory Study of Factors, Processes and Action Strategies

– in englischer Sprache –

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Studien zur Berufs- und Professionsforschung, Band 42

Hamburg , 422 Seiten

ISBN 978-3-339-13482-0 (Print) |ISBN 978-3-339-13483-7 (eBook)

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The number of foreign students enrolled in German higher education has grown for decades – reaching 128,500 new enrolments and a total number of 440,500 students in 2022. Up to 80% of new enrolments consider staying in Germany to work after graduation, promising a welcome relief to the much-discussed labour shortage resulting from demographic and educational trends.

However, the real employment outcomes continue to fall short of the promising expectations. As few as 25% of new enrolments remain in Germany to work – for reasons that are poorly understood. This in-depth study addresses the problem by exploring stakeholder perspectives on the factors, practices and processes helpful in enhancing foreign graduate employability in Germany.

Moving beyond rather obvious constraints such as German language skills and changing personal plans, this grounded theory study interviews stakeholders from three groups central to graduate employability: the students and graduates themselves, the academics in charge of educating them, and the employers interested in recruiting suitable workforce.

Based on 28 interviews, the study casts light on three dimensions of employability development. The first dimension is the foreign student journey from the home country to the German university and beyond graduation. The second dimension is the set of individual factors that influence graduate employability. Finally, the third dimension encompasses the stakeholder action strategies supportive of employability development.

Integrating those dimensions, the resulting grounded theory not only allows explaining employability constraints but also provides a practice-based framework for employability-enhancing initiatives in education and employment.

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