Abstract: Many governments are concerned that investment in higher education should increase the stock of human capital, which is seen as a source of national economic well-being. This concern often leads to an expectation that higher education will foster the learning outcomes that employers value. In the UK it has taken the form of pressure on higher education institutions to improve students’ employability. This paper briefly reviews some current responses, claiming that they are inadequate. An analysis of the concept of employability follows, leading to a claim that it necessarily entails complex learning. This gives way to a view of what needs to be done to improve the chances of such learning occurring. The main implication for teaching is contained in the claim that employability policies are not well-served by piecemeal actions. Rather, teaching that enhances employability is associated with systemic thinking about programmes and learning environments.