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New dissertation about employability of young people in Luxembourg

Oksana Domina, fil. dr., University of Luxembourg was visiting doctoral researcher at the Department of Education, Stockholm University, during Autumn 2021. Read about her thesis. She defended her doctoral thesis in December 2021.

Oksana Domina. Foto: Privat
Oksana Domina. Photo: Private
 

Three questions to Oksana Domina
 

Why did you choose the topic of your dissertation?

My dissertation focuses on employability of young people in Luxembourg. I chose this topic because I wanted to learn what are the key factors, which play a major role in the perception of employability in the labour market. Furthermore, understanding similarities and differences between employers' and young people's perspectives helped me to identify and study certain factors, i.e. skills, competences, personal qualities and resources, which can be associated with employability of young people in Luxembourg.

Can you tell us about some of your findings?

One of the main findings in this research project was the development of the concept of sociolinguistic repertoires and understanding its role in employability of young people. Sociolinguistic repertoires can be defined as a bundle of linguistic resources, where every resource has a certain social value, which partly depends on the awareness and ability of a speaker to use these resources appropriately in certain social contexts.

Another interesting finding is that employers mostly rely on their “gut feeling”, when assessing university graduates without extensive or relevant working experience for a job position. In such situations, employers often ask about candidates' leisure activities or hobbies, as such activities can give a certain signal to an employer, e.g., it can indicate the reliability of a candidate; personality type; provide better understanding of a candidate`s personal values and attitudes. These factors in turn can reveal how well the candidate can fit into the working environment established in the company.

The findings of my research further show that employers and students in Luxembourg perceive differently the value of education system in relation to employment. Whereas the students perceive education and its main output – diploma, as an important aspect of their employability, the employers have repeatedly underlined the significance of practical experience, referring to the obsolescence or irrelevance of the current education system to the realities of the contemporary employment system.    

Finally, it was found that language abilities play a major role for an individual's employability in Luxembourg. In particular, linguistic resources can serve as a transmitter of feelings not only in the sphere of private life but also in the employment context, as they can help to establish feelings of: connection and rapport between an employer and a candidate; employees and clients etc.; belonginess to a certain community or group; convenience or confidence when speaking a certain language.

What attracted you to come to Stockholm University as a visiting doctoral researcher?

On Stockholm University website I have found the information about the Department of Education. And particularly professor Camilla Thunborg's research focus on employability of non-traditional students after higher education, and how new ways of organising work and organisational changes affect the formation of identity drew my attention. So, I thought that contacting professor Thunborg and working together could be a great opportunity for international research collaboration.

And of course, the reputation of Stockholm University as a well-established international institution with the focus on innovative research areas and high-quality education played an important role in my decision.

Last but not least, Sweden is famous for its breath-taking nature sceneries, buzzing cities, environmental consciousness and, of course taking some time to enjoy fika, so I didn't even have to think twice when choosing a country for my research stay!

Whereas the students perceive education and its main output – diploma, as an important aspect of their employability, the employers have repeatedly underlined the significance of practical experience, referring to the obsolescence or irrelevance of the current education system to the realities of the contemporary employment system.

– Oksana Domina, fil. dr., University of Luxembourg