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WEEKEND READING: Using technology to improve graduate outcomes

  • 19 November 2022
  • By Charles Hardy

This blog has been kindly written for HEPI by Charles Hardy, Education Partnerships at Handshake UK. Join Handshake at the Careers Leadership Summit on Thursday, 8 December 2022 – register here.

It’s always been Handshake’s mission to create a future where the student and graduate employment market is more equitable than ever before. Handshake company was founded in 2013 by three students from Michigan Tech University who were shocked by the glaring inequalities in career opportunities for students across the United States. They wanted to use new technology to ensure all college students received equal access to meaningful careers, no matter where they were from or where they studied. The company quickly became the leading early career community in the US and the number one place to go for hiring student / graduate talent.

To really optimise graduate outcomes, it is vital the entire careers ecosystem works together, sharing ideas, research and best practice. And that is why we were delighted to have worked with HEPI and the NUS on some forthcoming polling of students about their interactions with their career services.

Previous HEPI research has clearly demonstrated the need to amplify the work of career professionals across higher education. It includes a paper by Johnny Rich on boosting employability, a paper by Rachel Hewitt on policymakers’ desire to get graduates into professional jobs, and quantitative and qualitative research exploring international students’ views about the careers support they receive.

All these reports, and numerous polls conducted by HEPI and others, remind us that most applicants and most students expect to find a rewarding and fulfilling career on the back of their degree. Of course this does not mean they expect to become millionaires, nor does it mean they enrol in higher education only to get a good job afterwards.

But finding the right career starting point is a core goal of nearly all students, and is typically even more front-of-mind than in the past given the debts they are typically taking on. It has also been a core priority of successive governments, including the current one, to ensure that students are doing courses that raise their likelihood of finding fulfilment in their post-study work. This is where technology like that provided by Handshake can make a real difference. 

Working hand-in-hand with leaders in the sector, we’re investing in developing a cost-effective platform which supports skills-based recruitment, drives strategic employer engagement and identifies and targets students who need the most support.

Be part of the conversation

To help shape how technology can make a difference in the market, we’re committed to doing even more collaborating in the weeks and months ahead. We are inviting university leaders and careers experts in the sector to join us for a Careers Leadership Summit at 12.30pm on Thursday 8 December at IET London, Savoy Place. 

This event will discuss the future of careers and employability in higher education, looking at how university leaders, careers professionals, technologists and businesses can all work together to navigate a turbulent global economy and an unpredictable employment landscape.

As part of the proceedings, we will hear from Hannah Fry, Professor in the Mathematics of Cities at UCL. She regularly appears on TV and radio, is the best-selling author of The Mathematics of Love and won the Zeeman Medal for her contributions to the public understanding of mathematical sciences. She says ‘My life’s ambition is to be the new Johnny Ball. Just 40 years younger and with a lot more hair.’

At the event, Handshake will also be unveiling our product vision for the next 12 months, as well as providing attendees with an excellent opportunity to network, connect in-person and discuss the future of employability and tech in the sector. And of course we will be providing attendees with copies of that forthcoming HEPI / Handshake research providing new insights into the actual current student experiences. 

Join Handshake Co-Founder Ben Christensen, Chief Education Strategy Officer Christine Cruzvergara and Head of Education Product Jake Becker to help co-create a technology-powered employment landscape. The full agenda can be found here

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