Business undergraduates' perceptions of their capabilities in employability skills: Implications for industry and higher education
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Business
In response to the continuing disparity between industry expectations and higher education provision, this study examines the self-assessed capabilities of 1,024 business undergraduates in employability skills typically considered important by industry in developed economies. The findings indicate relative perceived strengths in 'social responsibility and accountability', 'developing professionalism' and 'working effectively with others', and weaknesses in 'critical thinking', 'developing initiative and enterprise' and 'self-awareness'. Although these findings align with those of recent employer-based studies, undergraduates rate themselves considerably higher than their industry counterparts. The implications of this overconfidence in personal ability, commonly associated with so-called Generation Y graduates, for persistent graduate skill gaps are discussed from the perspectives of industry, higher education and the graduates themselves. Possible ways of encouraging undergraduates to evaluate their capabilities more critically and accurately are discussed. Variations in perceived capability as students progress through their degree programmes are also examined.