Higher Education And Employability In Pakistan: Perspective From Employers And Business Graduates
Author: Sarah Humayun


Employees entering the labour market devote four years to their education and professional development. Institutions of higher education release graduates into the job market assuming that they are well-equipped to succeed professionally and personally. However, employers all over the world have expressed that recent graduates lack employability skills and a gap exists between outcomes of higher education and the needs of job market and employers. Therefore, it is crucial to analyze the employability skills development. Research in Pakistan have mostly adopted a one sided approach by analyzing only the employers’ or graduates’ outlook and therefore, this study aims to provide new insights and solutions to enhance employability of Pakistani graduates. This research has adopted a mixed-method design. Using purposive sampling, a sample of 372 graduates and 71 employers were obtained for the quantitative analysis. By conducting a factor analysis, four skill sets are identified namely specific skills, core skills, personal attributes and communication skills. A sample size of 6 employers was chosen through convenience sampling. Through semi-structured interviews, the requirements of the job market are discussed. Both findings show that core skills are highly relevant in the labour market for business and social sciences’ graduates. Employers assign great value to university reputation and prior experience. Employers have expressed their dissatisfaction over the lack of core skills and personal attributes in Pakistani graduates. Both stakeholders state that industry-academia linkages should be strengthened and work-based learning and practical courses should be incorporated to prepare students for the job market. The study contributes by providing detailed analysis on both the graduates’ and employers’ perspectives and to the best of my knowledge, no other recent paper in Pakistan has used this methodology. It suggests useful directions for graduates to develop the important skills and for universities to collaborate with organization.

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Supervisor: Saman Nazir

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