Employers’ perception of employability skills among built-environment graduates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Universities have become training centres or “academic hubs” where skilled labour for societal and global consumptions are continuously produced. More so, the quality of teaching (pedagogy) provided by universities is essential in enhancing the skills, expertise and competencies of students who are required to meet the needs of the construction industry after graduation. Hence, the purpose of this study is to assess employers’ level of satisfaction with the employability skills of built-environment graduates in Nigeria. Design/methodology/approach: A quantitative approach was adopted for this study with close-ended questionnaires administered to respondents drawn from professionals in the Nigerian construction industry. Out of 150 questionnaires disseminated, 131 were completed and 126 were usable, signifying an 87% response rate. Data from this research were analysed using descriptive and exploratory factor analysis. Findings: Employers are seemingly satisfied with the sound academic record of built-environment graduates. They also affirmed their contentment with graduates’ willingness to learn and the way they achieve tasks with positive results. However, they expressed their dissatisfaction with the graduates’ prior work experience, communication skills and technical competencies in handling industry tasks effectively. Research limitations/implications: Data was collected from construction professions across two cities – Abuja and Lagos. Because of the limited budget allocated for this study, other regions were not considered. Because of time and financial implications, it was extremely impossible to visit all 36 states. It is, therefore, impossible to generalise the results of this research to the larger population. In generalising the results on a larger scale, the study would have to factor in a more diverse sample to ensure it is more representative. A more diverse sample may mitigate any possible bias that may arise from a self-administered questionnaire. Practical implications: From the survey results obtained from the respondents, it was observed that general knowledge about local and global trends, management skills, teamwork skills, work experience, communication skills, critical thinking skills, numeracy skills and civic responsibility are among the major non-academic skills lacking among built-environment graduates. This places significant pressures on universities in Nigeria to revisit and revamp its curricula in developing these skills among students who require them to thrive in the construction industry. Originality/value: Although the subject of employability has been adequately discussed across various fields (accountancy, psychology, management, business, marketing, etc.), there exist limited research studies in the built-environment context, a gap, which this study aims to fill. This study also provides several approaches through which employability skills can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-864
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Engineering, Design and Technology
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Construction education
  • Employability
  • Employability skills
  • Graduateness
  • Human capital
  • Pedagogy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering

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