Generic Skills of Prospective Graduates from the Employers’ Perspectives

  •  Sivapalan Selvadurai    
  •  Er Ah Choy    
  •  Marlyna Maros    


Past studies on employability of graduates have placed great emphasis on the supply side efforts in generic skills development which includes the tertiary curriculum design and delivery mechanisms. However, the responsibility of employers in providing training to prospective graduates and collaborating with universities in enhancing generic skills has been raised. On the demand side, there are numerous studies that have examined employer’s perspective in the private sector but few studies have examined employer’s perspective in the public sector. The objectives in this study are twofold: (1) to identify employers’ perception of the ideal generic skills that graduate employees should possess, and (2) to elicit employers’ perception of the lack of generic skills that prospective graduates (i.e. industrial trainees) currently possess. A qualitative research design was utilized, involving primary interview data collected through 16 key informant interviews of employers in the public sector in Kuantan and Johor Bahru. These key informant employers were selected from the UKM’s social science industrial trainees who attended training at these two sites. These interview data were analyzed using content analysis. The findings indicate that there are specific generic skills in the area of information and social interaction skills that the public sector employers seek from the graduates. This study implies the need for a stakeholder-responsibility approach in prescribing a comprehensive normative solution to the employability of graduates. In addition, it also postulates that the culture of learning and gaining varied skills in different spheres of life need to be inculcated amongst students from early years.

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