Analysis of employability skills for civil engineers in New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Sharma, Madhvi
De Costa, Gregory
Heyzer, Daymon
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
engineering graduate students
civil engineering graduate students
engineering job market
university to work transition
engineering industry employers
Sharma, M., De Costa, G., and Heyzer, D. (2014). Analysis of employability skills for civil engineers in New Zealand. Proceedings of the Australasian Engineering Education Congress (Ed.), Australasian Engineering Education Congress (1-7).
Background The transition from university to a career in civil engineering is a challenging process. This study examined the perceptions of engineering graduates regarding the difficulties they encountered in their transition from the university to the workplace. Recent practising graduates were surveyed to identify their current employment situation and their attitudes toward their academic preparation. Factor analysis revealed three main challenges facing engineering graduates: communication; responsibility; self-confidence. Seventeen interviews were conducted to gather information on ways to facilitate this transition. Also this paper discusses employer expectations & required employability skills in potential engineers. It does it through presenting research in which over 20 employers in Auckland were asked to record their perceptions of graduates in respect of their employability. The findings suggest that employers nowadays place emphasis on soft skills and give emphasis to a set of generic skills such as communication skills, problem solving and interpersonal skills. Purpose Employability upon graduation is a major priority for most engineering students. New engineering graduates these days are confronted with more challenges and competition in getting employed when compared to graduates of the past. Therefore, the excellent academic degrees alone are inadequate as employers require potential engineers to possess “competencies and capabilities” in generic skill. The objectives of this paper are: firstly, to examine the various engineering employability skills that have been identified after several interviews. Secondly, to collect feedback on whether graduates were employed in their career of choice or in relatively unskilled positions. Approach A literature survey along with primary data collection using a survey and interviews was undertaken. The researchers undertook exploratory research work and using two questionnaires to collect the primary data; one of them was for employees to know their perception towards employability skills and the other was to identify graduates transition challenges. The findings were analysed to come up with a synthesized framework. Anticipated outcome It is anticipated that this study will assist in developing a framework that will give both the employer, and prospective graduates the skill supply and skill requirement needed by industry, and thereby identify gaps. Ideally then these gaps that need to be addressed by the tertiary institutes prior to graduation. Conclusion Findings presented in this report will suggest. challenges to make engineering an attractive occupation in New Zealand Framework that could be used by the engineering sector in its future engagements with the education sector To inform strategic and workforce planning.
Institution of Engineers Australia
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
All rights reserved
Copyright license