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