University Social Responsibility for Students' Employability

University Social Responsibility for Students' Employability

Ma Jesús López-Miguens (University of Vigo, Spain), Gloria Caballero (University of Vigo, Spain), Paula Álvarez-González (University of Vigo, Spain) and Encarnación González-Vázquez (University of Vigo, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3551-5.ch004


The world is facing the notion of social responsibility wherever it turns. In this context, corporations and also universities are encouraged to behave socially responsibly. The responsibility of the universities is emphasized, as an educational institution, to improve the employability of their graduates. Graduate employability depends, among other factors, on external determinants of the student, which the university can influence. However, there is no consensus on how to measure them, and the scales developed to date have not been properly validated. The chapter proposes scales to measure the determinants of employability related to the university: university institution, university faculty, and teaching staff. The results show the structure of these scales, based on a sample of 816 students, and assesses its psychometric properties: content validity, dimensionality, reliability, and convergent, discriminant, and nomological validity. These scales can be used for future studies in behavioural psychology, human resources management, or education.
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Culture is in our hands and in the hands of the next generations (UNESCO, 2017). We are all responsible for preserving, maintaining and developing it, so we must chart the path to sustainable development, as UNESCO (2015) states on its global agenda for development over the next 15 years. Under this scenario, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as a culture for doing business that guarantees greater sustainability over time, argues that the creation of value for the different stakeholders that participate in the business activity results in a greater creation of value for society.

In this context, the university acts as a responsible company to the society wanting to promote and practice CSR, assuming this is a change in the management of universities (Neave, 2000; Scott, 2003; Shattock, 2003), and, thus, a relationship must be established between social responsibility and the institutional mission of each university: education, research and the promotion of culture (Quezada, 2015). United Nations state two of the main objectives of the universities, that is, the need to achieve an inclusive, equitable and quality education that promotes learning opportunities for all and leads to an adequate job (UNESCO, 2015).

A socially responsible company has an obligation to address the problems and satisfying the needs of its main stakeholders (Donaldson & Preston, 1995; Jones, 1995). Although the literature considers multiple stakeholders of University - teachers, students, administrative staff, entrepreneurs, public administration, alumni, university managers or the media, among others (García & Álamo, 1998; Mundet, 2000; Reavill, 1998), the most relevant and who really matters, as Johnson and Scholes (1997) suggest that should be considered, is the student. He/she is the end user that university needs to survive (Caballero et al., 2015). The university must be a link between the academic training that promotes to students and the one that the business world demands from them, that is, it must provide them with the necessary employability (Caballero et al., 2014).

When university students complete their studies and try to find a job they find a lot of difficulties to enter into the labour market. This problem becomes even greater if we consider that, for those who do find a job, their training is often not in line with what is required of them (Carroll & Tani, 2013). In this context, employability becomes a critical requirement for students who see it as the objective of a successful university degree (Nauta et al., 2009). Although to be employable does not guarantee that students will find the sort of work they seek and under the right conditions (McQuaid & Lindsay, 2005; Verhaest & Van der Velden, 2013), get the attributes that employers demand is the starting-point (Caballero et al., 2014; Rothwell et al., 2009; Yusof et al., 2012). Therefore, universities must guarantee students get these attributes for being employable. This has been one of the main objectives of the Bologna Process in the last ministerial meetings within the framework of the European Higher Education Area (London Communiqué, 2007; Leuven Louvain-la-Neuve Communiqué, 2009; Budapest-Viena Declaration, 2010; Bucharest Communiqué, 2012; Yerevan Communiqué, 2015).

The main purpose of this study is to know the opinion of one of the involved parties, i.e. the students of a Spanish university who are going to graduate. For them the employability they possess is the main objective when finishing their studies in the university. Despite the growing attention that the concept of social responsibility attracts, both the social responsibility of universities and the role of students on it represent a new and insufficiently researched field (Peric & Delic, 2016).

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