Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Assessment of Employability Skills among Fresh Engineering Graduates: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

Assessment of Employability Skills among Fresh Engineering Graduates: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Article excerpt

Introduction

The economic wellbeing and productive capability of any country are the functions of its human intellectual and professional competencies. It cannot be denied that qualified and skilled human resource is extremely important in today's highly competitive business environment. Development of human capital through investment in education and its contribution to the country's economy are evidenced in literature by many authors (Becker, 1964; Hanushek and Kimko, 2000; and Kingdon and Soderbom, 2007a and 2007b). Qualified and skilled human capital leads to the overall development of the society by providing an edge in the global economy, and thus the current economic challenges worldwide and globalization are forcing employers to seek competent human resource. Consequently, fresh graduates have to prepare themselves with required skills desired by their future employers. Above and beyond good academic qualifications, employers also require their new employees to be equipped with relevant capabilities, skills, abilities and personality attributes.

It is also evident that Fresh Engineering Graduates (FEG) are experiencing major challenges in adapting to the competitive environment of today's organization. In order to face such a competitive and dynamic environment, it becomes mandatory for them to possess strong theoretical background equipped with vast array of employability skills. It is also true that these graduates do not possess skills, attitudes and understanding that are required to become employable and necessary to successfully enter the corporate world as evident from various researches. The unemployment rate among engineering graduates is growing day by day due to lack of employability skills among them. Often jobs are readily available, but these graduates lack what is needed to get and keep them sustained in the job. Moreover, once these graduates start performing, the employers are not very much satisfied with their performance in various aspects. Therefore, it seems reasonable to expect educational institutes and the universities to teach and equip students with the required employability skills as demanded by the corporate world.

Employability skills are those basic skills necessary for getting, keeping, and doing well on a job (Robinson, 2000). Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) (2002) defines employability skills as skills required not only to gain employment, but also to progress within an enterprise so as to achieve one's potential and contribute successfully to enterprise strategic directions. Employability skills are not job-specific, but are skills which cut horizontally across all industries and vertically across all jobs from entry level to highest position of any organization (Sherer and Eadie, 1987).

The world is changing tremendously in terms of technological development; companies are mushrooming like never before and thus most work needs to operate globally in order for the organization to survive in this immense competition and dynamic environment. This situation makes mandatory for both the employers and the employees, especially FEG, to get themselves equipped with highly advanced technological, management and communication skills to compete in this global arena (Jailani et al., 2005). The two greatest concerns of employers today are finding competent employees and to train them as per their requirement. The difference between the skills needed on the job and those possessed by FEG, called the Employability Skills Gap, is of real concern to the employers looking to hire competent employees. Employers prefer to hire people who are trained and ready to go to work; otherwise, they have to provide the specialized, job-specific training necessary for those lacking skills. Hence, a more flexible workforce with advanced technical skills coupled with well-developed generic skills such as creative thinking, problem-solving and analytical ability, is greatly needed in order to meet the challenges faced in the business. …

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