On graduate employability


University administrator, Idowu Olayinka writes on ensuring graduates of academic institutions are employable. He also delves on efforts of his leadership at the University of Ibadan in that regard.


For most graduates from higher education institutions, there are two main options to decide on: either look for employment or move on to pursue a higher degree. Those who are entrepreneurial may also decide to set up a business.

So much has been said and written about the employability of university graduates. I hasten to add here that this is a contemporary problem that most universities in practically all parts of the world has to address. It does no one any credit if an institution churns out unemployable graduates year in, year out.

Some of the approaches to solving the problem of graduate employability have to do with the curricular while some others are extra-curricular.

Deliberate efforts have to be made to develop graduate core skills, especially the soft skills. These include among others:

  • Literacy and numeracy;
  • Time Management and organisation;
  • Oral and written communication;
  • Teamwork;
  • Creative problem-solving;
  • Initiative and enterprise including enterpreneurship;
  • Critical and analytical skills;
  • Ability to apply discipline, knowledge and concepts;
  • Information gathering, evaluation and synthesus;
  • Emotional intelligence, negotiation and interpersonal skills;
  • Adaptability;
  • Preparing for a Job Interview;
  • Writing a Curriculum Vitae/Resume; and
  • Life-long learning.
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At the University of Ibadan, concerned with the urgent need to improve the employability of our graduates, we have established a Career Guidance and Counselling Centre since December 2015. We will be evaluating the achievements of the Centre shortly.

Moreover, we have strengthened the course ‘Philosophy, Logic and Critical Thinking’. All our undergraduate students will be compelled to offer this course hence forth.

In the United Kingdom, 80% of graduate recruiters do not ask for a specific degree subject. They are more interested in the skills (specialist and transferable/generic; analytical; organisational); experience, attributes (resilience, tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty; curiosity) and knowledge, especially the ability to learn in depth.

Idowu Olayinka is the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Ibadan

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