Citation

Material Information

Title:
Perceptions of employability skills in undergraduate Business Studies students in a developing country
Series Title:
Working paper series
Creator:
Wise Mainga
Place of Publication:
Nassau, Bahamas
Publisher:
University of The Bahamas
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
6 p.

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Subjects / Keywords:
Business students -- Vocational guidance -- Bahamas
Employability -- Bahamas
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serial ( sobekcm )

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
Wise Mainga, Faculty of Business

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The University of The Bahamas Institutional Repository
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The University of The Bahamas Institutional Repository
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This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives License. This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the author.

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Research Edge Working Paper Series, no. 3 6 p. 1 University of The Bahamas RESEARCH EDGE PERCEPTIONS OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS OF UNDERGRADUATE BUSINESS STUDIES STUDENTS IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY Wise Mainga Faculty of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies University of T he Bahamas , Nassau, The Bahamas Email: wise.mainga@ub.edu.bs Working Paper Series No. 3 6 , March 20 20

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Research Edge Working Paper Series, no. 3 6 p. 2 University of The Bahamas The Office of Graduate Studies & Research of University of The Bahamas publishes RESEARCH EDGE Working Paper Series electronically. © Copyright is held by the author or authors of each Working Paper. RESEARCH EDGE Working Paper Series cannot be republished, reprinted or reproduced in any format without the permission Note: The views expressed in each paper are those of the author or authors of the paper. They do not represent the views of the Office of Graduate Studies & Research and University of The Bahamas. Compiled and edited by: Dr. Vikneswaran Nair Dr. Earla Carey Baines Virginia Ballance Office of Graduate Studies & Research University of The Bahamas University Drive P.O. Box N 4912, Nassau, The Bahamas Tel: (242) 397 2601/2602 E mail: research@ub.edu.bs

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Research Edge Working Paper Series, no. 3 6 p. 3 University of The Bahamas PERCEPTIONS OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS OF UNDERGRADUATE BUSINESS STUDIES STUDENTS IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY Wise Mainga Faculty of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies University of T he Bahamas , Nassau, The Bahamas Email: wise.mainga@ub.edu.bs EXTENDED ABSTRACT The Papua New Guinea (PNG) economy ha s undergone several changes over the last decade or so, through the development of several Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects and associated supporting industries. These new industries require new and different skills sets, including the adaptation of bus iness management skills. As the environment within which an industry operates changes over time, so will the skill requirements. Consequently, regular updating of business degree program me s in universities may be necessary. Such effort may ensur e that knowledge and skills embedded in a u t with the skills requirements of future employers. In addition, there are very few studies in which employers, business lecturers and business s s on 2003). been theoretical, prescriptive and based mostly on case studies (Finch et al, 2 013). Our study attempts to identify the perceptions of the three stakeholders on the relevance of business education offered at one business school to industry needs. The objective of this study was to explore final year employ ability skills in PNG, to see whether they are aligned with what employers are looking for in contemporary times. An extensive I nternet search on Google Scholar could not locate any study that captured the perception of the three stakeholders (i.e., employ To achieve the above stated objective, the study answered the following specific research questions: (i) Which employability skills do e mployers perceive as most important when recruiting fresh Business Studies degree graduates for entry level positions? (ii) Which employability skills do b usiness l ecturers perceive as most important when fresh Business Studies degree graduates are being recru ited by industry for entry level positions? (iii) Which employability skills do f inal year business studies students perceive as most important when being recruited by employers for entry level positions? (iv) Do perceptual differences of the relative importance of different employability skills exist between e mployers, b usiness l ecturers, and final year business studies students?

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Research Edge Working Paper Series, no. 3 6 p. 4 University of The Bahamas The preliminary findings have the potential to make universities in Papua New Gui nea (PNG) refocus their strategies in modeling line with what is required by employers. We adopted an exploratory Descriptive Research methodology. The triangular design approach was adopted from Rosenberg et a l. (2012) and Wickramasinghe and Perera (2010). Our study administered three sets of questionnaires to representatives of Employers, Business Lecturers and final year Business Students (as a proxy for graduates). Atfield and Purcell (2010) also use final y proxy for graduates. Three very similar semi structured questionnaires, but with minor variations, were administered to the three groups. 50 questionnaires were handed out to companies that attended the Career F air hosted at the University. The number of questionnaires returned was 20, representing a response rate of 40%. 21 questionnaires were handed out to Business Studies lecturers. 10 were returned, representing a response rate of 48%. 65 questionnaires were handed out to final year Business Students. 30 usable questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 46%. Documentary analysis was done on various secondary data from published research, journals, books and articles found in various Internet databases. Pr eliminary data analysis on primary data was done using SPSS 16. by employers when recr uiting business student graduates for entry level positions. Like other previous studies from other countries, this calls for enhanced three way communications between employers and academics, between academics and students, and between employers and stude nts. Our tentative findings suggest areas for potential improvement on how business students are educated and the nature of perceptions of skill needs of future prospect ive employers. The r egular adjustment of the business degree curriculum to continuously align it with evolving skill needs of business/industry is one obvious implication for institutions involved in providing business education. It is equally important that students understand which employability skills employers are looking for during their business degree studies and to put effort in developing such skills. It is important to not only get by employers in relevant skills (Rosenberg et al., 2012). Finally, there is need for intensive interaction b etween students, business lecture s and employers in ensuring up to date courses are offered at business schools in PNG. T his was the first study that captured the perceptions of three stakeholders on employability skills of business studies graduates in PNG . Keywords : E mployability skills; academic skills; personal management skills; teamwork skills; business education; business studies students; Acknowledgement The study was done with two other researchers: Reuben Maino Daniel (Mr) & Luis Alamil (Dr) .

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Research Edge Working Paper Series, no. 3 6 p. 5 University of The Bahamas References Atfield, G. & Purcell, K. (2010) Graduate labour market supply and demand: Final year seek , Working Paper 4, Futuretrack, Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick. Ball, L. (2003) Future directions for emplo yability research in the creative industries , accessed from: http:// www.adm.heacademy.ac.uk/resources by topic/employability/future directions for employability research in the creative industries Finch, D. J., Hamilton, L. Education + Training , 55 ( 7 ), 681 704. Rosenberg, S., Heimler, R. & e mployability skills: a Education + Training , 5 4 ( 1 ) , 7 20. Wickramasinghe, V. & Perera Education + Training , 52 ( 3 ) , 226 244.

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Research Edge Working Paper Series, no. 3 6 p. 6 University of The Bahamas CORRESPONDING RESEARCHER BRIEF BIODATA Wise Mainga , Ph.D. Faculty of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies University of The Bahamas Email: wise.mainga@ub.edu.bs Wise Mainga is a full time faculty member in the Faculty of Business, Hospitality and Tourism Studies at University of T he Bahamas. He has a PhD, MBA, MSc, PgDip and BSc degrees. He has research interest s in Project Management, Employability Skills, Business Education, Industrial C ompetitiveness and D evelopment . Dr. Mainga has taught at several universit ies in Africa, the Middle East, South Pacific and the Caribbean .