The aim of this research is to study the self-perceived significance of undergraduate students towards some fundamental employability skills. A sample size resulted in 111 respondents or 37 per cent of sample size. This study used descriptive, qualitative study to test employability skills instrument on self-perceived level of importance. From the findings, respondents considered themselves to have a high degree of value in all of the employability skills. The results of the study signified that the respondents perceived soft skills as to be at moderate importance level in 100 per cent with a mean weight of greater than 2.0.The findings also indicated that respondents have a high level of importance with regards to Problem solving, time allocation, self-management, communication, teamwork, learning and technological skills; however, the pre- and post- analysis result are dormant with negligible modification of the scores and the arrangement of each item.
Key Words: Employability skills, Soft skills, Tangible skills, Generic skills, Labor market '
The world is changing rapidly and the thinking and living patterns of people is considered to be altered by the time. Societies are getting progressively more civilized, and the changing of economic condition in global as well as Pakistan reckoned to have a tremendous impact on the labor market. World is getting smarter day by day, and today's extremely methodological and practical jobs demands a highly proficient applicant who could escalate the efficiency and thereby proliferate the worth of the organization. To hire competent employees Organizations go through recruitment processes. Shift from manufacturing oriented jobs to service oriented jobs demands professionals with both sound technical and behavioral skills to attain and retain the job (Chithra, 2013). Organizations are using different approaches of recruitment to attract quality talent to their personnel. The high demands of employers have a drastic impact on the labor market, as a result many employees supposed that their skills are ill suited to a huge crop of innovation based jobs springing up across the country.
Employability is the main concern for undergraduates and institutes of higher education. And it is one of the objectives of higher education commission of Pakistan as to produce skilled, experienced and knowledgeable graduates to fulfill manpower needs with most of the graduates employed in their relevant fields within six months upon graduation. Over the years, many underdeveloped nations and the developing nations have tried to wipe-out the intensity of unemployment, which seems quite predominant and extensive among these countries. Employers, academies and specialized bodies agree that Universities consider it necessary to develop professionals who are extremely capable and prepared to face the challenges of increased rivalry. However, we need professionals who are reactive to economic, social, cultural, technical and environmental change and can work compliantly and logically across professional settings. Pakistan education industry requires new alumnae who comprehend the part they perform in constructing their organizations, and have the hands-on skills to grind commendably in their roles. Moreover, contributing in the workstation actually means more than having the indispensable tangible skills. It means engaging with the organization and its objectives, understanding the dynamic forces of the workplace, and enchanting up a job role with considerable information of all of its requirements. It also means application of comprehensive variability of employability skills learned in many settings and through a range of experiences.
Both higher education and the graduate labor market are fluctuating swiftly. The undergraduate intake is becoming more varied, in age, background, previous educational experience and interests and determinations although government's struggle to develop the societal base of the undergraduate inhabitants has recently been categorized as a limited success.
Progressively, flared involvement concerns have stirred onward through the student knowledge and skills from access, to sustenance and holding to effective achievement and towards job procurement. In the interim, the prominence of employability has lifted from job-market intelligence and job-getting techniques to emerging a variety of features through the learning process, with some associations taking a holistic tactical methodology. There is a emergent highlighting on empowering students and enabling them to take benefit of their scholastic experience. There is a impending for organic merging in the application of a forward-looking membership schema that endows scholars as efficacious learners and an employability agenda. (harvey, 2003)
An era of societal cataclysm in Europe in 1968 held the attention of strategy makers. They recognized that emergent youth joblessness and ensuing discontent was due, in part, to shifting labor market settings and a set of education provisions that was out of step with the evolving requirements of the labor market. There was also acknowledgement that societal arrangements needed to transform and that fresh individuals needed to be equipped for social structures and labor market in revolution. The forces driving this transformation ' globalization and information technology ' inaugurated to progress recommendations that would enable young people to accommodate the significances of these changes.
The employability skills framework, developed by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Business Council of Australia and published in Employability skills for the forthcoming, provides an excellent starting point for any dialog of employability skills in higher education. The eight employability skills ' communication, teamwork, problem solving, self-management, planning and organizing, technology, life-long learning, and initiative and enterprise ' and associated attributes were first published in that report. The report contains a discussion of different terms being used in different settings to pronounce generic skills for all personnel. It denotes to the higher education sector and notes the work on generic skills and graduate attributes being undertaken at that time. (Gabrielle Matters;David D. Curtis, 2008)
As such, a review of the significance of employability skills is of supreme importance in creating insights to universities in preparing their courses of study. It is supposed that an inclusion of the employers' facet into the examination of the prominence of employability skills will create significant justification to this matter as they are the adjoining and most direct assessors to the graduates' recital. They are undeniably in the right position to remark on the types of skills most needed in different field of employment. Thus, this study explores the dimension from the perspective of the undergraduates. More specifically, this paper attempts to evaluate the students self -perceived importance of the employability skills and their perception towards the skills they possessed. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the employability skills of graduates in the Business institutes of Karachi, Pakistan. The study required to judge graduates 'perceptions regarding significance of recognized employability skills and their self-perceived level of proficiency in executing those skills. It has conventionally and superficially been viewed that an extraordinarily outstanding cumulative grade point average (CGPA) achieved by alumnae through tedium in university has been a authorization to pursuing for a prerequisite well-matched, if not greatly rewarded service. It has consequently encouraged undergraduates to be dedicated to focus exclusively on their studies for academic excellence while compromising co-curricular activity input, through which employment allied soft skills are hoarded. Thus, hard skills erudite from and stressed through progressions of study in university are practically not accompanied by the tenure of personal qualities and soft skills among undergraduates. It has therefore considered that a perfect amalgam of individual qualities, soft skills and hard skills will positively donate to augmenting graduate employability.The employability of university graduates has conquered much educational and economic policy over the past epoch. Alumna employability is centrally positioned in the altering connection between higher education and the labour market. The growth of mass higher education has crisscrossed with the shift towards a so-called knowledge-driven or post-industrial economy. The knowledge-driven economy is said to entail personalities with the types of acquaintance, talent and imaginative potential who can meet the encounters of a global economy categorized by prompt changes. Progressively, individuals can no longer presume a 'job for life', whereby their careers are moored around single jobs and organisations. Employees as an alternative have to take a more lithe and pre-emptive approach to their operational lives, linking the supervision of their own employability.
H1: Communication skills do contribute to productive and harmonious relationships between employees.
H2: Teamwork does not contribute to productive working relationships and outcomes
H3: Problem solving does not contribute to productive outcomes.
H4: Planning and organizing does contribute to long term and short term strategic planning.
H6: Self-management does contribute to employee satisfaction and growth.
H7: Learning does contribute to ongoing improvement and expansion in employee and company operations and outcomes.
H8: Technology does contribute to effective execution of task.
2. Literature Review
Several studies have illustrated the significance for alumnae from higher education institutions to gain transferable skills prior to entering the workstation .Researchers preached that it is becoming gradually imperative for graduates to be able to apply the knowledge and skills erudite in higher education institutions to the personnel. However, research has implied that entry-level graduates are not prepared with the general, transferable skills compulsory for hiring and thus are not prepared to enter the workforce. The purposes of this descriptive study were to assess graduates' perception of the importance and competence levels of performing identified transferable skills in the workplace and use the Borich (1980) needs assessment model to ascertain the skills utmost needed to enrich the prospectus. The findings revealed that solving problems, working independently, and functioning well in stressful situations were professed by graduates as being most central to their job, and ascertaining dogmatic implications of the decisions to be made was the least important. In terms of capability, graduates perceived themselves to be most competent at working self-reliantly, relating well with supervisors, and working well with fellow employees and least competent at identifying political implications of the decisions to be made. When using the Borich model, solving problems, allocating time efficiently, communicating ideas verbally to groups, and acquiescent constructive criticism were the skills with the premier mean weighted discrepancy score, indicating a high need for curriculum enhancement. (J. Shane Robinson;Bryan L. Garton, 2008) 'Employability skills are defined 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.' In this research, the foremost purpose of this study was to detect the insight of employers regarding the employability skills needed in the job market and graduates' perception of the employability skills that they currently possessed. Eleven variables that make up employability skills grounded on past research were observed in this study. Nevertheless, only seven factors, which were the result of factor analysis, were considered. Data were collected through two different sets of questionnaires intended to gauge employers' and graduates' perceptions, respectively. The results of this study discovered that employers choose to hire graduates from public universities. Moreover, alumnae and employers placed parallel importance in relations to the grading of employability skills, where both employers and graduates professed the order of significance of employability skills to be the same. However, there was a variance between employers' and graduates' observations for all seven employability factors, where employers rated graduates much lower in terms of mean rank. The results of this study also suggest that fledgling employers tend to be more advantageous to alumnae's employability skills. The greater the job position of the employer within the organization, the greater are the expectations of graduates. (Singh & Singh, 2008).
Change in organizational and employment structure has been widely recognized as the cause of increasing requirement for broader types of skills by employers. The concept of employability skills can sometimes be referred to as generic skills. In the paper the researcher attempts to examine if the undergraduates' core skills are able to meet with the requirements established by the employers and to evaluate the efficiency of particular potentials and employability skills development in private university in Malaysia. Questionnaires survey, mean score comparison, and independent sample t-test are used to capture the perception differential between 30 employers and 600 undergraduates from a local private university on the importance of employability skills. The results show that the undergraduates are all extremely proficient in owning the said personal qualities and skills. Moreover, such skills as critical analysis, planning, problem solving, oral communication, decision making, and negotiating report a slightly higher level of disparity between employers' and undergraduates' perception on their importance and development in the University.
The emergence of 'life skills' from existence rather common and universal prescriptions for educational modification to specific lists of 'skills' that schooling, vocational and higher education should discourse. The emphasis is explicitly on the 'key skills' of the Employability Skills Framework (ESF) established mutually by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA) (ACCI & BCA, 2002).A strategy was proposed for lengthening the definitions of the key skills to add personal, social and civic objectives. It is also identified that a sequence of challenges that institutes and institutes systems essentially address in order to meet the requirements to advance these key skills in students, to gauge accomplishment of them and to shot attainment against them. We identify valuation as the fundamental challenge and the further definition of these paradigms as a related challenge. The reliable assessment of key skills will be a driver for teaching and learning them, and will provide a sound basis for reporting achievement. (Matters & Curtis, 2008).
Enhancing Graduate Employability skills is considered as an important task within the university community. The study was accompanied with the objectives of ascertaining the employer skills needs in different countries, various definitions related to employability skills, previous research done in different countries related to the employability skills obligation and their recommendation. The study is grounded on a literature survey of educational reports, empirical and theoretical research papers Review findings reveled that skills definitions, employer expectation and requirement differ according to different countries. Employers' needs and also the learner skill enhancement aptitudes should be taken into account in framing future skills assessments. This study concludes that universities should categorize skill sets that will best serve the future labor market and align programs to meet those needs. (Weligamage, 2009)
In current era, the global higher education environment and employment market have been pigeonholed by a growing obsession with the concept of graduations. The motivation has been a greater consideration of the role that higher education can play in contributing to the new knowledge-based economy, which needs to be driven by highly skilled, proficient and lithe individuals. Academies are progressively accountable for fabricating employable alumnae to contribute significantly to a knowledge-driven economy. However, this responsibility is not deprived of its challenges. The mismatch between what universities produce and what employers want is challenging, with universities under increasing pressure to close the gap. Besides, criticisms razed against the notion of universities merely generating graduates for the workplace are conventional. Graduation is a multi- faceted concept which entails a more subtle understanding. (Chetty)
The tangible and intangible skills were not divergent, distinct individual qualities but instead embodied a synergetic accumulation of what may be labeled 'ideal' generic skills and proficiencies mandatory for progresses in the workplace. In each state the mounting graduate market shaped the employers' perspectives and expectations. Moreover, increasing graduate flexibility across Europe means that employers have an ever-growing pool of highly experienced entrants from which to cherry-pick, and that the scale of effectiveness within the up-to-date graduate recruitment market in all EU countries is unprecedented. Given the socio-economic and cultural conversions of the four countries, employer demands for business graduates in respect of 'hard' business skills and 'soft' interpersonal competencies were remarkably similar. (HIGSON, 2008)
Notwithstanding present attention about whether they can and ought to, higher institutes incorporate the improvement of employability abilities inside their curricula. Be that as it may, managements keep on reporting that graduates are not primed for the universe of work, and fail to offer probably the most essential aptitudes required for effective vocation. Research into why this could be proliferates from the points of view of different stakeholders, including government, businesses, higher training foundations and graduates. Interestingly however, the perspectives of students, the beneficiaries of this employability advancement, are not well known. This could be significant, on the grounds that taking in principle lets us know that inspiration and duty of learners is a fundamental essential for viable conclusions. So the inquiry is raised in respect to whether college scholars are locked in with employability abilities advancement. This article provides details regarding a study investigating the perspectives of in excess of 400 business studies, showcasing and human asset administration college people about employability. Discoveries recommend there is just restricted arrangement between the perspectives of people and other stakeholder bunches. There are contrasts between initially, second and last year people, which could illustrate a watched absence of engagement with employability-related advancement. A few proposals for enhancing engagement are made, nearby plans on what can, practically, be carried out inside higher training organizations (Tymon, 2011).
Studies inspecting student perceptions of employability skill development in business undergraduate programs are restricted. Declaration of student buy-in is imperative to guarantee apprentices engage with skill provision; to allow them to articulate their capabilities to potential employers and to expedite the allocation of attained skills. This study examines 1019 students' perceptions of the prominence of employability skill development, the relative importance of skills and the influence of certain demographic/background characteristics. Findings indicate undergraduate's value skill advancement, most particularly communication and team-working, and some significant variations in importance ratings. Alignment with other stakeholder perceptions and the influence of context are discussed. (Jackson, 2013)
In an environment of significant changes in the labor market and higher education sector in the UK, a discourse of employability has become progressively leading. Universities are advised to guarantee that they produce 'employable' graduates, and alumnae themselves are urged to recurrently ripen their personal skills, qualities and experiences in order to strive in the graduate labor market. Depicting on a study of 'non-traditional' graduates from a post-1992 inner-city university in England, this paper offers a perilous judgment of the discourse of employability. In divergence to expectations of a level playing field in which graduates' skills and personal qualities are the key to their success in the labor market, social class, gender, ethnicity, age, disability and university joined to all sway on the prospects available. It is debated that the discourse of employability, with its prominence on individual obligation and negligence of social inequalities, has possibly detrimental consequences for these graduates. (Moreau & Leathwood, 2006)
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This study utilized quantitative method. Quantitative research is essential to determine with certainty the point to which views uttered are held throughout wider populations.
A survey study method based on primary source of data was adopted for the present study. For emphasizing the study of a phenomenon within its real-world context Case study method was adopted the case study method favors the collection of data in natural settings.
Questionnaire was used as an instrument for gathering data. This research will be based on a deductive approach. This research requires testing fundamental propositions highlighted in the research questions and objectives, intended for the study. It was constructed keeping in mind the objectives of the study. This instrument comprised of 7 items. For this study the questionnaire is divided into 2 sections demographic variables and employability facets. The questionnaire cover all the variables such as gender, age and other variables like communication skills, teamwork, problem solving skills, planning and organizing abilities, self-management skills, learning skills, time management, technological skills. All items were summed together to represent each respondent's perception on their employability skills.
The main purpose of the study is to find out student's perception towards employability skills: a case study of business educational institutions of Karachi, Pakistan. It also evaluates the self -perceived level of proficiency in executing those skills. To achieve the objectives of the study, from population of 358, 150 surveys were sent (through questioners) to 2 private and 1 public sector Universities situated in district of Karachi, Pakistan. The target population for this study was defined as fresh undergraduates, who are supposed to be the future prospects of the business world
A stratified sample was gleaned from the state lists of Pakistan's higher education commission recognized Universities. From the total population, the study sought 150 responses of those students studying in the higher educational Institutions of Karachi, Pakistan. The researcher has focused on the students because of the fact that students are the backbone of the developing nation. So, for the development of nation the work-life balance should be improved.
Research was conducted using administrative support, MS Office, web, SPSS and factor Analysis test.
The study comprises of Questionnaire that was based on close-ended questions which were nominal in nature. The questionnaire using 5-Scale Likert (1= strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neutral, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree) was design to test the impact of the entire variable.
The questionnaire validity was measured through pilot testing and was modified as per measures that need to assess accurately the objectives of the study.
The research is consistent and the instrument consistently measures the required objectives of the study using Factor Analysis test. The questionnaire was filled by respondents in presence of the Research.
4. Data Analysis:
Collected data were processed by means of quantitative research methods. Prior to data analysis, pre-analysis data screening was performed to ensure the accuracy of the data and to deal with missing and incomplete data. Data were examined using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 for Windows, a product of SPSS, Inc. Frequency was used to screen the data for any irregularities.
There were 10 statements of the questionnaire. Tests of the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy and Bartlett's test of sphericity resulted in the correlation matrix presented in Table 1.
The descriptive information shows the means and standard deviations for all of the eight variables, as well as all possible bivariate correlations and their p values. It is clear that all of the correlations are positive and significant as might be expected of these variables. It is concluded that Time Management skill and Problem solving skill is the most important variable in employability skills. They have the highest mean of 4.77
Interpretive adjectives for the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy are: in the 0.90 as marvelous, in the 0.80's as meritorious, in the 0.70's as middling, in the 0.60's as mediocre, in the 0.50's as miserable, and below 0.50 as unacceptable. The value of the KMO Measure of Sampling Adequacy for both graduates and towards employee ability yielded a score of 0.690, which would be labeled as 'mediocre'. Hence proved, that a factor analysis is appropriate for these types of data. The Bartlett's Test compares correlation matrix to an identity matrix. It is a correlation matrix with 1.00 on the principal diagonal and zeros in all other correlations. For these tests Bartlett's test is highly significant, that is its associated probability is less than 0.05.In fact it is actually .000 that is the significant level is small enough to reject the null hypothesis. This means that correlation matrix is not an identity matrix and therefore factor analysis is appropriate.
SPSS output 4 shows the table of commonalities before and after extraction. Principal component analysis work on the initial assumption that all variance is common; therefore, before extraction the commonalities are all 1.The commonalities in the column labeled Extraction reflect the common variance in the data structure .Relatively it is shown that over 80% of the variance in technological skills is accounted for while 45.8% of the variance in communication skills is associated for 1 as a common variance.
The Principal Component communalities (Extraction, as the Initial are always 1.00) range from .450 to .595, thus most of the variance of these variables was accounted for by this two dimensional factor solution. It is apparent that the corresponding Extraction communalities for the Common Factor analysis were a bit smaller (as would be expected) but still show the majority of the variance of all variables represented in the two factor solution.
TSPSS output _______displays the total variance explained in eight stages. It lists the eigenvalues associated with each linear component before extraction after extraction and after rotation.Before extraction , SPSS has identified 16 linear components within the data set.The eigenvalue associated with each factor represents the variance explained by that particular linear component ,In this result SPSS has displayed the eigenvalue in terms of the percentage of variance explained as factor 1 explains 23.229 of total variance whereas subsequent factors explain only small amount of Variance.Kaiser's rule of retaining factors with eigenvalues larger than 1.00 was used in this Extraction Sums of Squared Loadings. As the eigenvalues for the first two principal components with eigenvalues of 3.717 and 1.326 were retained.The Values in this part of the table are same as the values before extraction.In the final part of the table labeled Rotation Sums of Squared Loadings the Eigenvalues of the factor after rotation are displayed .Rotation has the effect of optimizing the factor structure and one consequence for these data is that the relative importance of the four factor is equalized.Before rotation factor one accounted for considerably more variance than the remaining one (23.229 compare to 8.289), However after extraction it accounts for only 17.363 as compared to 14.155.
The scree plot is the graph of the eigenvalues against all the factors.The graph is useful for determining how many factors to retain.The point of interest is where the curve starts to flatten.It can be seen that the curve begins to flatten between Factor 7 and 8.It is also noted that factor 7 has an eigenvalue of less than 1,So only 6 factors have been retained.
The Scree Plot is a graphic aid. It is simply a plot of the monotonically descending eigenvalues. It is intended to help in deciding where a the "trivial" dimensions begins.
The output also show component matrix before rotation. This matrix contains the loading of each variable onto each factor.with the help of Varimax procedure 6 factors are extracted,this method minimizes the number of variables with high loads on a factor and facilitates its interpretation. The higher the absolute value of the loading,the more the factor contributes to the variable.The gap on the table represents loading that are less than 0.5,this makes reading the table easier.All readings less than 0.5 are suppressed.
The study demonstrates that there is a solid requirement for mindfulness around the Karachi graduates to know the employability skills needed by the worldwide ability market. We can't accuse the graduates. It is important to overhaul the educational module at consistent interim to provide jobs to cater the needs of the business. Further, there ought to be long and practical plan to prepare our young graduates to raise their bar to achieve occupations in the worldwide ability market. It is a key to expand the business-the scholarly world contact. This will guarantee normal supply of ability to the worldwide ability workforce. The research indicates that the students with work experience have better consciousness of the employability skills than the people with no work experience. Improving the skills and provision of learning through particular preparing will empower the specialists to perform their occupations in the best conceivable way and that is the need of great importance.
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