Report

Skills Gap – Is this a reason to question the increasingly vocational nature of university courses?

Professional and vocational courses requiring 5 years’ post-secondary study are Skills Gapsupposed to meet speci c needs for competences in a given area of employment. Young graduates believe they have acquired the speci c competences they think their employers require. In their view, the shortfall lies in their general competences. Is this a reason to question the increasingly vocational nature of university courses?

What emerges from the analysis – and this applies to all those surveyed – is a significant gap in the level required in employment in respect of competences relating to work organisation and activity management. Holders of master’s degrees in scientific subjects, and more particularly in the science and technology specialisms, are those among whom the gaps are greatest. Conversely, the gaps between some acquired and required competences are sometimes very small, or even positive, as in the case of the ‘Identifying and raising problems’ group of competences for holders of master’s degrees in social sciences (mainly psychology and sociology). For this last group of competences, the gap is, fairly logically, low among holders of master’s degrees in arts subjects, languages and humanities, where the level of acquired competences was already high. In other words, the more general the course of study was, the smaller the gap seems to be.

In short, regardless of track and specialism, graduates with five years’ post-secondary education seem to believe they have acquired a good level of general competences, even though they do not match up to what is expected of them in their jobs.

These results may be a cause for concern, at time when it is widely agreed that university courses need to be more vocational in nature in order to make them more specific. The analyses show that, from the point of view of the young graduates surveyed, there does not appear to be any major shortfall in the competences specific to the various disciplines. On the other hand, they also suggest that the common base of general competences and, to a lesser extent, the level of professional competences linked to certain specialisms could be strengthened in order to bring them into line with the level required by employers.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Do young graduates with professional and vocational master’s degrees regard themselves as competent to hold their jobs?

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