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Improving graduateness: addressing the gap between employer needs and graduate employability in Palestine

Nadine Nabulsi (Faculty of Business and Economics, Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine)
Beverley McNally (Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia)
Grace Khoury (Faculty of Business and Economics, Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 29 June 2021

Issue publication date: 9 July 2021




This research paper seeks to identify multiple stakeholder perceptions relating to the level of graduateness of a group of business school graduates in Palestine.


An exploratory mixed method approach was employed. Survey data provided the quantitative information that was analysed using statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS). Interviews of 1.5–2 h duration were conducted to gather the qualitative data. The study utilised an inductive thematic approach to analyse these data.


Employers were resolute in the view that despite the high level of youth unemployment in Palestine, they still had difficulty in sourcing suitably qualified graduates. Collaboration between employers and higher education providers is not of a level that supports the development of graduateness. The identified key skill shortages occurred in the soft skills area, for example, written and verbal communication, language and problem-solving skills, negotiation and conflict resolution.

Research limitations/implications

As an exploratory research study, there are opportunities for future research investigating more deeply the themes identified and the success or otherwise of the recommended initiatives.

Practical implications

This study has implications for both educationalists and policymakers, regarding the prioritisation of development funding and of policies and practices aimed at improving youth employment. There are implications for all stakeholders with regard to collaboration in curriculum development, provision of education, and training and development programmes targeting young people to ensure that they are work ready.


This paper is one of the first to examine the skills gap between business schools' graduates and employment in Palestine.



Nabulsi, N., McNally, B. and Khoury, G. (2021), "Improving graduateness: addressing the gap between employer needs and graduate employability in Palestine", Education + Training, Vol. 63 No. 6, pp. 947-963.



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