To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Grade point average vs competencies: which are most influential for employability?

Maria Jesus Freire-Seoane (Department of Employment Observatory, University of A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain)
Carlos Pais-Montes (Department of Employment Observatory, University of A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain)
Beatriz Lopez-Bermúdez (Department of Employment Observatory, University of A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 25 January 2019

Issue publication date: 23 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to measure the combined influence that soft skills and Graduate Point Average (GPA) achievements have on the employability of higher education (HE) graduates, and the possible mitigating effects that score attainments have on some ex ante issues, like the gender asymmetries existing in labour market, or the great difference between some knowledge fields, regarding their unemployment rates.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology used is a probit model, performed on a sample of 1,054 HE graduates, coming from a middle-sized European university.

Findings

The results show: a clear positive influence of the GPA on job finding odds; that some generic competencies improve this probabilities but another ones act as penalties; and that GPA and systemic competencies enhancement initiatives (at an individual level or at HE policy institutions level) could act as attenuators for the gender inequality or for the low recruitment perspectives existing on some knowledge fields like humanities or social sciences.

Originality/value

A wide scientific literature can be currently found on generic competencies and their influence on the employability odds, but the results regarding GPA attainments are still too heterogeneous and scarcely explored. On the other hand, there’s a non-solved controversy in the literature about the influence of the GPA results on the odds that a HE graduate has to obtain a job: do GPA signal correctly the best candidates? Do current employers prefer competencies scores over GPA attainments? This paper will contribute to clarify these questions.

Keywords

Citation

Freire-Seoane, M.J., Pais-Montes, C. and Lopez-Bermúdez, B. (2019), "Grade point average vs competencies: which are most influential for employability?", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 418-433. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-04-2017-0027

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited