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Soft skills for sustainable employment of business graduates of Bangladesh

Mansura Nusrat (Department of Business Administration, Bangladesh University, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Nafia Sultana (Department of Management, Bangladesh University of Professionals, Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 4 January 2019

Issue publication date: 23 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether soft skill requirements found in employer job postings (advertisements) within different roles of business are similar to the soft skills practically needed in the workplace and the perception of faculties at schools of business in Bangladesh.

Design/methodology/approach

A two-phased study was administered. Phase 1 involved reviewing the latest relevant literature and hundreds of job advertisements; and in phase 2, questionnaires were administered to elicit responses from executives and faculty members from different universities in Bangladesh. Judgment sampling and the snowball technique were used to develop the sample of 84 respondents with a response rate of 56 percent. In total, 15 soft skills were used to develop the instrument. Descriptive statistics and a Kruskal–Wallis test were performed to analyze the collected data, where factors that retained α at or below 0.05, a family-wise Bonferroni adjustment (Mann–Whitney U test) was applied.

Findings

All the mentioned soft skills are found to be desirable by the recruiters and faculties also agreed with them. However, there exist disparities on the perceived importance of four soft skills among faculties and recruiters, and a gap was found between the business curriculum and industry expectations from fresh-out business graduates.

Originality/value

This study could be a basis for future studies and would help business education institutions guide their students to master the skills, and to develop and prepare them for real life battle in the job market. Moreover, the study indicates the gap between executives’ expectations from the graduates and the institutional teaching provided by higher education institutions (for business majors), which would help practitioners reform their business curriculum to better ensure employability for their business graduates. Moreover, the study opens an avenue for further research in this field for implementing training programs for attaining the most desired soft skills among higher education institutions.

Keywords

Citation

Nusrat, M. and Sultana, N. (2019), "Soft skills for sustainable employment of business graduates of Bangladesh", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 264-278. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-01-2018-0002

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited