Transitions from higher education to employment among recent graduates in England: unequal chances of achieving desired possible selves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


External organisations

  • Univertsity of the West of England


This chapter uses the concept of possible selves to examine processes of making the transition from undergraduate study to the world of work in England, focusing specifically on career futures in the accountancy sector. Inequalities in access to high status professional careers in sectors such as finance and accountancy have been identified as a significant policy concern in the UK (Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, 2009; Milburn, 2012), with research by Ashley et al. (2015) providing evidence of the sort of practices in firms that contribute to unequal access to these professions. In this chapter, we examine the issue from the perspective of graduates themselves, and consider how they experience transitions through undergraduate study and into these professions. We focus on the negotiation and construction of possible selves, and provide insights into how structures and social practices interact with subjectivities and the dispositions of individuals, in ways that enable or inhibit the realisation of desired possible selves, paying particular attention to the role of gender, ethnicity and social class.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPossible Selves and Higher Education:
Subtitle of host publicationNew interdisciplinary insights
EditorsHolly Henderson, Jacqueline Stevenson, Ann-Marie Bathmaker
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameResearch into Higher Education