New Article About Initial Employability Development among Graduates

May 19, 2023

We published a new article entitled "Initial employability development: Introducing a conceptual model integrating signalling and social exchange mechanisms" in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. Our article introduces a conceptual model explaining the shared role of graduates and employers in initial employability development processes. Based on signaling and social exchange theories, we argue that the key to initial employability development is to establish high-quality information and resource exchanges between the two parties during the HR phases of pre-flow, in-flow, and through-flow.

The process of writing this article was a great learning experience because my co-authors, Michael Tomlinson and Valerie Anderson, come from different disciplinary backgrounds. As such, the article not only forms a bridge between the graduate and workplace employability literature streams because of its contents but also as a result of our collaboration.

You can read the full article HERE. It's open access and available to anyone. You can read a brief abstract of the paper below.


This article develops a conceptual understanding of initial employability development, specifically the transition into first career destinations. Substantial previous research focuses on the role of individuals in ensuring employment readiness and continued employability development. Studies also identify the importance of employers for sustained employability. However, the interdependence and interaction between employers and individuals are under-theorized. We integrate social exchange theory and signalling theory to conceptualize initial employability development. We propose a cyclical model that comprises interactive and reciprocal signalling and social exchange processes between employers and individuals. The model overcomes the limitations of linear conceptualizations and one-sided models that theorize employability as either the outcome of human capital resources deployed by individuals or as managed by employers in employability development processes. We extend the processual approach to employability by redirecting theoretical attention to the interaction of signalling and social exchange as fundamental to employability development. We conclude by discussing implications in relation to employability research and theory development.

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