Faculty of Business and Law
School of Business
Despite the development of employability skills being firmly entrenched in higher education’s strategic agenda worldwide; recent graduates’ standards in certain skills are not meeting industry expectations. This paper presents and tests a model of undergraduate competence in employability skills. It highlights those factors which impact on competence in employability skills and identify ways in which stakeholders can adjust curricula and pedagogy to enhance graduate skill outcomes. Data was gathered from an online survey of 1008 business undergraduates who self-rated their competence against a framework of employability skills typically considered essential in graduates. The data was analysed using multiple regression techniques. Results suggest a range of factors influence competence in employability skills. These include geographical origin, sex, work experience, engagement with the skills agenda, stage of degree studies, scope of relationships and activities beyond education and work and the quality of skills development in the learning programme. The implications for stakeholders in undergraduate education are discussed, highlighting their shared responsibility for ensuring undergraduate employability skills are developed to required industry standards. The model provides an important contribution to the multi-faceted concept of graduate employability, of which skill development forms an important part.