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Skills Gap and Tertiary Education in New Zealand – Employer satisfaction with graduates is mixed

There are mixed opinions on how well New Zealand’s tertiary system prepares graduates for employment. For example, Universities New Zealand (sub. 17) submitted that it is a myth that universities are producing poor quality graduates or graduates that are not work ready. Others, including Ed.Collective (sub. 89) offered a different assessment.

…there are areas where our graduates are falling short of employer expectations. This is not because they have not invested enough money or spent enough time in their learning endeavours… we are just plain doing it wrong. Given the financial and life significance of studying today, we should not sit back and accept that this is just how it is. (Ed.Collective, sub. 89, p. 21)

A 2013 New Zealand survey of 700 business school academics and employers also found that tertiary providers and employers have different views of graduates’ work-relevant skills (Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1 Perceived ability of business schools to produce well-trained and prepared graduates


Source: Burt, Smith & Young, 2013.

Similar differences in opinion are evident in other countries. For example, a survey of 8 000 young students and workers (aged 15 to 29), employers and tertiary providers from nine different countries identified contrasting views about how well tertiary graduates are prepared for the workforce (Figure 4.2).


Similarly, Vandeweyer (2016) cites a recent survey which found “While 48% of the interviewed employers indicate that youth lack written communication skills, only 6% of young people participating in the survey acknowledge lacking these skills”, suggesting a wide gulf between youth and employer understandings of performance and preparedness.

One New Zealand survey of employers found they were much more satisfied with graduates’ verbal and communication skills (80% satisfied) than with their intellectual autonomy and independent thinking (55%), or their ability to set and achieve personal and professional goals (55%) (Kusmierczyk & Medford, 2015).

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  New models of  education: draft report

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