Satisfaction with Knowledge and Competencies: A Multi-Country Study of Employers and Business Graduates
- 1 Athabasca University (CA), Canada
- 2 University of Primorska (SI), Canada
- 3 Aston University (UK), Canada
- 4 Pº de la Castellana, Canada
- 5 University of Applied Sciences FH Joanneum (AT), Canada
Problem statement: This study critically discusses findings from a research project involving four European countries. The project had two main aims. The first was to develop a systematic procedure for assessing the balance between knowledge and competencies acquired in higher, further and vocational education and the specific needs of the labor market. The second aim was to develop and test a set of meta-level quality indicators aimed at evaluating the linkages between education and employment. The project was designed to address the lack of employer input concerning the requirements of business graduates for successful workplace performance and the need for more specific industry-driven feedback to guide administrative heads at universities and personnel at quality assurance agencies in curriculum development and revision. Approach: The project was distinctive in that it combined different partners from higher education, vocational training, industry and quality assurance. Project partners designed and implemented an innovative approach, based on literature review, qualitative interviews and surveys in the four countries, in order to identify and confirm key knowledge and competency requirements. This study presents this step-by-step approach, as well as survey findings from a sample of 900 business graduates and employers. In addition, it introduces two Partial Least Squares (PLS) path models for predicting satisfaction with work performance and satisfaction with business education. Results: Survey findings revealed that employers were not very confident regarding business graduates’ abilities in key knowledge areas and in key generic competencies. In subsequent analysis, these graduate abilities were tested and identified as important predictors of employers’ satisfaction with graduates’ work performance. Conclusion: The industry-driven approach introduced in this study can serve as a guide to assist different types of educational institutions to better align study programs with changing labor market requirements. Recommendations for curriculum improvement are discussed.
Copyright: © 2012 Ana Azevedo, Doris Gomezelj Omerzel, Jane Andrews, Helen Higson, Antonio Caballero and Bernadette Frech. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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- Quality indicators
- knowledge and competencies