Creating employable graduates: the case of ethnic minority students in Greece

Antonios Panagiotakopoulos (New York College, Athens, Greece)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 11 April 2016



The purpose of this paper is to explore the main barriers to employability skills development of ethnic minority students in the context of higher education (HE) in Greece and recommends strategies to help higher education institutions (HEIs) overcome those barriers.


The study draws on a series of in-depth interviews conducted with 20 ethnic minority students and ten “traditional” students studying at three institutions of HE in Greece.


The study shows that there are many barriers facing ethnic minority students in HE including: poor self-esteem; lack of good advice about HE courses; isolation once in HE; discrimination by staff in HE; and unresponsive curriculum to ethnic diversity in HE. In this context, it is argued that there is an immediate need for decision makers in HEIs to develop policies that target ethnic minority students in order to help them secure employment. It is suggested that HEIs should: provide opportunities for students to discuss concerns with teachers and counsellors; address issues of motivation, self-perception and self-efficacy; encourage teaching staff to adopt various teaching methods to accommodate different learning styles; decrease competitive, norm-referenced environments; use multicultural education and counselling techniques and strategies; and provide work placement opportunities.

Practical implications

The paper suggests ways that can help HEIs embrace diversity and promote graduate employability among ethnic minority students in the context of widening participation agenda.


The study fills a significant knowledge gap in the existing literature in relation to the measures that HEIs can take to enhance graduate employability among ethnic minority students particularly in less developed countries like Greece.



Panagiotakopoulos, A. (2016), "Creating employable graduates: the case of ethnic minority students in Greece", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 196-209.

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