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

Identification of key employability attributes and evaluation of university graduates’ performance: Instrument development and validation

Jawad Abbas (Department of Business Administration, Iqra University – Islamabad Campus, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Mustafa Sagsan (Department of Innovation and Knowledge Management, Near East University, Nicosia, Turkey)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 2 January 2020

Issue publication date: 21 May 2020




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the managers’ views on the characteristics which university graduates should have to obtain the job and efficiently perform in Chinese industrial organizations, and how are they performing in the industry.


Mix-method approach was followed to identify the key employability attributes, employers’ expectations and students’ performance. Analysis of interviews and literature provided the foundation for the development of the employability instrument used. In total, 11 identified attributes were grouped into four dimensions, i.e. knowledge, skills, abilities and professional attitude. Structural analysis was performed to test the hypotheses and theoretical model. The importance of the identified attributes was checked via the ranking technique, followed by an evaluation of students’ actual performance and a comparison between them.


Empirical analyses indicate that the managers in China consider “skills” as the most important dimension for employability in Chinese industrial organizations and “reliability” is the highly demanded subsequent factor. A significant gap has been found in all studied dimensions and 10 out of 11 sub-factors.


This study not only identifies key employability attributes, but also proposes and validates an instrument for measuring students’ industrial performance. It also highlights the factors where industry and academia should focus to improve graduates’ employability and their industrial performance.



The author would like to thank Mr Simon Thompson for his valuable suggestions and support in completing this manuscript.


Abbas, J. and Sagsan, M. (2020), "Identification of key employability attributes and evaluation of university graduates’ performance: Instrument development and validation", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 449-466.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles