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Dr Tania Lyden - Career Mentoring and Social Difference in HE


Investing in undergraduate career mentoring in HE demands evidence of employability gain. This research compares perceived short-term outcomes of career mentoring of an institution’s scheme by mentee social background and explores what facilitates/inhibits the perceived success of career mentoring using a combined lens of Social Reproduction and Self-efficacy. Wraparound participant surveys gather perceived shifts in six aspects of employability. Regression evaluates whether social background predicts differences. 12 purposively sampled, mentor/mentee semi-structured interviews are thematically analysed. There are like gains in labour market knowledge, work exposure and ease of professional interaction. Whereas low socioeconomic status (SES) mentees gain more self-belief in their ability to gain graduate level employment (SES explained 11.5% of the difference) and more career clarity. Interviews show similarity as key for most highly successful dyads: supporting identification and career identity refinement but is not just about demographics and not essential to raise self-efficacy. Habitus seems to loosely constrain intended social mobility via partial identification, accentuated by inauthenticity/unease. Does social capital operate across social groups due to a common alma mater? A career mentoring in HE model aids pragmatic generalisation for managers. Recommendations suggest mentoring conceptualisation embraces the individual, interpersonal, institutional and societal.

Read more about this research project in the online publication of Career Mentoring in Higher Education.

Researcher profile


Dr Tania Lyden is a Teaching Follow of Career Studies and Coaching Programmes in the Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Warwick.

 Staff profile