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Employers' perspectives on work readiness in construction: are project management graduates hitting the ground running?

Jessica Borg (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Christina M. Scott-Young (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Article publication date: 8 July 2020

Issue publication date: 13 August 2020

981

Abstract

Purpose

There is a need for graduates who can quickly adjust and thrive within the current increasingly dynamic project-based workplaces. The purpose of this paper is to present the employers' perspectives on the work readiness of project management graduates entering the Australian construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

To gain the industry's perspective, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants from 18 different construction companies that employ project management graduates.

Findings

Thematic analysis revealed that from the employers' perspective, work readiness constitutes (1) empathic communication, (2) passion and (3) technical construction knowledge. Graduates' areas of strength (e.g. application of technology) and weakness (e.g. responding to confrontational situations) were identified.

Practical implications

The findings provide valuable insights into employers' perspectives of the work readiness of project management graduates which can serve as feedback to universities to assist in aligning their educational programmes with industry needs.

Social implications

While employers recognize that the responsibility for fostering work readiness should be shared between themselves and universities, this research highlights that currently adequate collaboration does not occur. This paper advocates for both universities and employers to be open to engaging in the conversation to enhance graduate work readiness.

Originality/value

No research to date has investigated the work readiness of project management graduates, nor whether their work readiness levels meet employers' requirements. This paper addresses this gap.

Keywords

Citation

Borg, J. and Scott-Young, C.M. (2020), "Employers' perspectives on work readiness in construction: are project management graduates hitting the ground running?", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 1363-1379. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-10-2019-0238

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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