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An investigation into the impact of deprivation on demographic inequalities in adults

Mayhew, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-0380-1757, Harper, G. and Villegas, A. M. (2019). An investigation into the impact of deprivation on demographic inequalities in adults. Annals of Actuarial Science,


An ongoing debate is centred around the question of how we can understand the value of university credentials in accessing jobs. We know that occupations are strong determinants of which skills, knowledge and abilities are utilised in work but we do not know enough of how occupational contexts shape what university degrees represent to employers and labour market entrants. Drawing on semi-structured interview data, this article compares and contrasts how Higher Education degrees serve as credentials in accessing three different graduate occupations: laboratory scientists, software engineers and press officers. Rather than functioning as direct signs of work skills and knowledge, signals of trainability or as instruments of social closure, the article shows that higher education credentials serve multiple roles within the three occupations. These occupational-specific forms of credentialism shape the competition for jobs for university graduates. The article argues for a renewed theoretical approach to educational credentialism.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is to be published in a revised form in Annals of Actuarial Science This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © Cambridge University Press.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: Cass Business School > Actuarial Science & Insurance
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