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Article

Weili Teng, Chenwei Ma, Saeed Pahlevansharif and Jason James Turner

The purpose of this paper is, first, to examine student perspectives of their university experience in terms of the soft employability skills they develop; second, how…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is, first, to examine student perspectives of their university experience in terms of the soft employability skills they develop; second, how prepared those students feel for the future employment market and finally investigate whether there are differences in perceptions between Chinese and Malaysian students given their different educational experience.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, 361 predominantly Chinese undergraduate students at two universities, one in China and the other in Malaysia completed the 15-item Goldsmiths soft skills inventory using an online survey.

Findings

The results, analysed using factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis, indicated that the university curriculum develops student soft skills, particularly in the Malaysian university and supports the relationship between soft skill and student preparedness for employment. The results also indicate that compared with the respondents from the Chinese university, the Malaysian university respondents were more likely to be positive to statements concerning their respective university’s ability to develop their soft skills.

Research limitations/implications

Such findings have implications for education providers and business in that it is important for universities to embed soft skills into the curriculum in order to develop graduate work readiness.

Originality/value

What this research contributes is not only consolidation of existing research in the contemporary context of a disruptive jobs market, it takes research forward through analysing student perceptions from two universities, one in Malaysia and the other in China, of the skills they develop at university and the importance of soft skills to them and their perceptions of future employment and employability. Such research will provide insight, in particular, into the role of education providers, the phenomena of underemployment among graduates in China, and be of practical significance to employers and their perception that graduates lack the necessary soft skills for the workplace (Anonymous, 2017a; Stapleton, 2017; British Council, 2015; Chan, 2015).

Details

Education + Training, vol. 61 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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Article

M.S. Rao

The purpose of this paper is to achieve sanctimonious status to the soft skills discipline. It explores soft skills in global organizations and educational institutions.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to achieve sanctimonious status to the soft skills discipline. It explores soft skills in global organizations and educational institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explains the significance of soft skills and the methods to acquire these. It differentiates between soft and hard skills with examples and illustrations. It draws a blueprint to offer soft skills program. It unveils expository strategy, guided strategy and active strategy for teaching and training soft skills.

Findings

The finding of this study reminds that the world is shifting from knowledge economy to self-knowledge economy and of the importance of soft skills with the advent of artificial intelligence. It enlightens that a judicious blend of hard and soft skills is essential for achieving professional and leadership success. It implores not only to build hard skills but also mind soft skills. It concludes that soft skills are essential for everyone from janitors to chief executives to achieve the desired outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

This paper explains from the academic and organizational perspectives only.

Practical implications

This methodology can be applied in any industry and in any size of organization globally.

Social implications

The social implications of this research suggest that educational institutions and global organizations can adopt these methods and strategies to impart and improve soft skills.

Originality/value

This research explores tools and techniques to measure soft skills. It encourages experiential learning to impart soft skills. It coins an innovative evaluation tool – Meka’s five-level model – to measure soft skills training. It outlines a few sample questions to measure soft skills training. It crafts course curriculum for soft skills. It unveils a list of soft skills essential for leaders.

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Article

Nida’a K. AbuJbara and Jody A. Worley

This paper aims to highlight the importance of soft skills for leadership and offers recommendations for soft skill development training for the next generation of leaders.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight the importance of soft skills for leadership and offers recommendations for soft skill development training for the next generation of leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrated review of current research literature was conducted on management, leadership and soft skills to develop recommendations for integrating the development of soft skills in leadership development training protocol.

Findings

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work for soft skills development or measurement. Each soft skill is defined differently and should be assessed based on different behavioral actions. Progress in this area of measurement development will make a great impact on the use of soft skills. The development of assessment tools for the different soft skills across professional disciplines is assumed to enhance other aspects of transformational leadership such as coaching and mentoring.

Research limitations/implications

Current strategies for the assessment and measurement of soft skills present an obstacle for including these skills in current leadership training models.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for the development of soft skills for the next generation of leaders and offers recommendations for integrating the development of soft skills in leadership training programs.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills an identified need to study how soft skills can be measured and assessed. This is important given that specific skills vary across professional disciplines and organizational contexts.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Content available
Article

Kay Emblen-Perry

This paper aims to present a novel pedagogical approach to education for sustainability within the business curriculum that adopts a sustainability audit of a fictional…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a novel pedagogical approach to education for sustainability within the business curriculum that adopts a sustainability audit of a fictional company presented as a case study as the focus of learning, teaching and assessment. It evaluates the user’s ability to provide the active learning called for in education for sustainability literature and hands-on learning that business management students prefer.

Design/methodology/approach

This study explores students’ qualitative and quantitative responses to pre- and post-module surveys and module evaluations to establish the effectiveness of focussing learning, teaching and assessment on a sustainability audit. The study, undertaken over a two-year period, adopts four indicators of learning and teaching effectiveness to synthesise, evaluate and present the findings as follows: development of sustainability knowledge and skill, employment skills, career and life skills and engagement.

Findings

The study finds that a sustainability audit can develop students’ knowledge and skills in all four indicators of learning and teaching effectiveness. In addition, the findings suggest it can raise students’ learning awareness and recognition of their role in the learning process.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reports the findings of a small scale, two-year study. As such, it presents indicative findings rather than generalised conclusions.

Practical implications

Designing a pedagogical approach to education for sustainability within the business curriculum around the completion of a sustainability audit can offer hands-on learning experiences that meet students’ preferences for interactive, experiential and collaborative learning within real-world environments, employers’ demands for employment-ready graduates and educators’ hopes for sustainability advocates.

Originality/value

This study builds on the existing pedagogic discourse of pedagogic means and methods for education for sustainability within the business curriculum. It provides insight into effective hands-on education for sustainability within the business curriculum and offers experience-based guidance to educators seeking to develop immersive, active and experiential, real-world pedagogical approaches.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Book part

Eugene F. Asola and Samuel R. Hodge

The percentage of North Americans who have one or more physical disabilities continues to rise. Specifically, the percentage of people with ambulatory disabilities…

Abstract

The percentage of North Americans who have one or more physical disabilities continues to rise. Specifically, the percentage of people with ambulatory disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and other health impairments is increasing every year. This phenomenon calls for pragmatic measures to help provide better transition and related services to students with physical disabilities and other health impairments. It is anticipated that well-planned collaborative transition services provided to students with physical disabilities and other health impairments will result in improved quality of life and independent living in the community. In this chapter, we discuss transition and transition-related services, supporting legislation for persons with disabilities, transition from rehabilitation centers and hospitals to job settings and community-based programs.

Details

Special Education Transition Services for Students with Disabilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-977-4

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Article

Timothy Oluwafemi Ayodele, Timothy Tunde Oladokun and Kahilu Kajimo-Shakantu

The global shift in the traditional skills required of real estate graduates has led to an increased demand for employees who have the required skills and competencies…

Abstract

Purpose

The global shift in the traditional skills required of real estate graduates has led to an increased demand for employees who have the required skills and competencies. The purpose of this study is to evaluate employment considerations of real estate firms and analyse employers’ skill expectations and the observed skills possessed by the graduate employees. This study also analysed the self-assessed soft skill levels of the graduate employees, thereby establishing the skill gap.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were sought from real estate employers in the two dominant real estate markets of Nigeria: Lagos and Abuja, and real estate graduate employees who have had a minimum of six months working experience in real estate firms. Data collected were analysed using statistical techniques such as frequency, percentages, mean, correlation, multivariate analysis of variance, paired-samples t-test and independent samples t-test.

Findings

The findings of this study revealed that employers’ soft skills expectations were high with skills such as responsibility, administrative, listening, communication, business negotiation and work ethics. Based on employers' observed skills, there were significant skill gaps with respect to soft skills such as responsibility, business negotiation, logical thinking, marketing and dispute resolution. An analysis of the core skills reveals employers' preference for technical competencies in valuation, agency, property management, marketing, report writing and landlord and tenant laws. However, graduate employees possessed significant skill gaps with regards to technical skills such as valuation, property investment analysis, feasibility and viability appraisal, market research methods and facility management.

Practical implications

An understanding of the skill gaps will provide useful feedback to professional bodies, regulatory boards, institutions of higher learning, faculty members and other stakeholders regarding deficient skill areas, especially for curriculum review, development and training in the real estate sector.

Originality/value

There is a paucity of information about employers' skill preferences and the skill gaps in the real estate sector.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management , vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

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Article

Mansura Nusrat and Nafia Sultana

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…

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.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

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Article

Diane Nauffal and Jennifer Skulte-Ouaiss

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and explain the high rates of employability of one group of Middle East youth by focussing on liberal arts and soft skills

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse and explain the high rates of employability of one group of Middle East youth by focussing on liberal arts and soft skills education as an integral part of quality higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employs the survey research method using questionnaires, focus groups and interviews to understand the labour market dynamics in Lebanon and explore factors that correlate positively with gainful employment with a special focus on the graduates of an institution that emphasises the liberal arts and soft skills training.

Findings

The paper finds that quality higher education – particularly with a focus on soft skills and internships – boosts the potential of graduates to secure their first jobs after graduation.

Research limitations/implications

Reliable data on higher education, employability and youth are scarce in Lebanon and the region. The paper is based on one labour market study in Lebanon while seeking to extrapolate to Lebanese youth as a whole as well as reflect on employability and youth in the Middle East region.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates support for improving quality in higher education as well as making soft skills training and the liberal arts critical components for increased employability of youth in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Originality/value

The paper is innovative in its reliance on primary data from a labour market survey as such data are scarce in Lebanon. In addition, advocacy for soft skills training and the liberal arts in the midst of focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics and other professional education at the university level is rare in the Middle East.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 60 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

Content available
Article

Anjana Singh and Prashanti Jaykumar

Tourism and hospitality is one of the fastest growing segments of the services industry in India, and there is tremendous need and opportunity for young, educated and…

Abstract

Purpose

Tourism and hospitality is one of the fastest growing segments of the services industry in India, and there is tremendous need and opportunity for young, educated and qualified professionals. Academics and employers agree that there is an increasing gap between the soft skills that companies expect from their entry-level employees and the skills that these young people possess. To bridge this gap, industry leaders and researchers indicate the need for more soft skills training. The purpose of this paper is to identify soft skills competencies that are required for a diverse group of entry-level employees and then to identify gaps by exploring the hospitality programme and internships.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is analytical in nature and draws on a literature review and a questionnaire as a survey tool for stakeholders. The research had separate questionnaires for employers, students and faculty members of the Vedatya Institute, educator for the service industry. The research is focused on entry-level employees – students who had graduated from Vedatya Institute in the past five years. The employers are primarily general managers and human resource managers of five-star hotels who have recruited and been part of campus interviews.

Findings

The research analysed soft or employability skills for the hospitality industry, and it provided valuable insights from employers and perceptions of graduates in attainment of those skills during their degree programme. The study highlighted the significant role of internship in developing soft skills.

Practical implications

The paper recommends practical solutions for educators and organizations that can be applied. The research synthesized current thinking on required soft skills for young entry-level employees and explores the soft skills gap in the context of a growing soft skills training market with recommendation for stakeholders.

Originality/value

The research sought to address the real life problem impacting the hospitality industry in India using inputs from the literature, graduates and employers.

Details

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4217

Keywords

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Article

Timothy Oluwafemi Ayodele, Oluseyi Joshua Adegoke, Kahilu Kajimo-Shakantu and Olaitan Olaoye

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the soft skill gap of graduate employees, as well as the factors influencing the skill gaps of real estate graduates in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the soft skill gap of graduate employees, as well as the factors influencing the skill gaps of real estate graduates in the employment of real estate firms in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

Primary data were employed for the study. Close-ended questionnaire served on real estate employers in the two major property markets of Nigeria: Lagos and Abuja. From a total of 343 questionnaires administered, 172 (59.7%) questionnaires were retrieved. While data from the graduate employees were obtained via a web-based survey sent out to a total of 558 graduates, 119 (21.33%) responses were received. Descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were employed in the data analysis.

Findings

The findings showed that employers had high expectations for soft skillsets relating to responsibility, administrative, listening and communication skills. These have respective mean scores of 6.38, 6.33, 6.31 and 6.31 on a seven point scale. However, the results revealed significant skill gaps with skills such as logical thinking, business negotiation, responsibility and marketing. Further, the analysis revealed that factors influencing the skill gap, in decreasing order of influence, are training/professional mentors/remuneration, personal preferences/industry characteristics and curriculum/faculties.

Practical implications

Real estate graduate soft skills are investigated to uncover areas of emphasis and skill gaps. These outcomes could serve as important feedbacks for stakeholders towards improving real estate teaching and curriculum. The findings could also assist real estate graduates to know employers areas of emphasis in relation to graduate employability skills.

Originality/value

Extant studies have reiterated and evaluated the soft skills gaps based on the perceptions of employers, faculties and institutions of higher learning. However, there is the need to investigate the perception of graduate employees, being the recipient and major stakeholders in the training process.

Details

Property Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-7472

Keywords

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