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What is expected of higher education graduates in the 21st century?

  • Humburg M.
  • Velden R.K.W. van der


In this paper, we reflect on the skills higher education graduates are expected to have in todays economy and the role of higher education in equiping graduates with these skills. First, we identify 6 trends which form the basis of the changing role of graduates in economic life. These trends are the knowledge society, increasing uncertainty, the ICT revolution, high performance workplaces, globalization, and the change of the economic structure. By changing the nature and range of tasks graduates are expected to fulfil in todays economy, we argue that these trends generate new and intensify traditional skill demands, which we summarize as professional expertise, flexibility, innovation and knowledge management, mobilization of human resources, international orientation, and entrepreneurship. Second, we draw out some key issues concerning the role of higher education institutions in equiping graduates with these skills.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE) in its series Research Memorandum with number 044.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unm:umagsb:2013044
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