Quality of Graduates Produced by Tertiary Institutions in South Africa and the Graduates' View of the Workplace

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1. Introduction
2.1 Background of the Problem
The nature of this report was to investigate the existing gap between employer’s view on the quality of graduates produced by tertiary institutions in South Africa and the view of graduates regarding the workplace. Higher Education South Africa (HESA) has recently undertaken a research study from the employer’s perspective regarding the nature of the gap between employer expectations and graduate quality in the workplace (Parker, 2009). This perceived problem has impacted business globally in a negative manner. Not having competent and equipped graduates in the workplace have various negative repercussions on the organisation. 2.2 Scope and Limitations

Synovate will examine this problem from the Graduate Employee’s (GE) point of view as well as the employer’s. The limitations of HESA’s report were that they only focused on employers expectations of graduates. A broad overview of the problem could not be obtained because time was also a limitation since the research was done in short period of time. By interviewing only four graduates and one employer/manager a clear and concise understanding of the problem was not easy to conclude. Geographically there was also a limitation, HESA had conducted its survey based on the view of the entire South Africa, Synovate did research in the Western Cape only. 2.3 Research Question

The research question is to investigate the gap between employer’s expectations of graduates and the actual skills and competencies of graduates in the workplace. What graduate attributes employers feel are necessary to be successful in the workplace. 2.4 Layout of the Report

In total, five questionnaires have been used to present the findings in this report. Four graduates with more than one-year working experience was interviewed, as well as an employer. These questionnaires can be found in appendix 1 at the back of the report. This report will discuss the findings obtained from the data analysis. This will be presented by figures or tables as well as a description and analysis of the figures demonstrated. Conclusions will be discussed by answering the research questions. Recommendations will be made to address the problem. 2. Findings

KEY:
Employer
Graduate
1 = unimportant
2 = somewhat unimportant
3 = neutral
4 = important
5 = very important

Figure 2.1 Basic Skills and Understanding prior to entering the workplace 2.1.1 Description
According to the figure 1 based on the average ranking of attributes, GE has ranked computer literacy as the most important skill of basic skills and understanding. The other skills such as numeracy, language and the ability to find access to information were ranked important. This figure also indicates the employer’s ranking of graduate attributes in the basic skills and understanding category. 2.1.2 Analysis

Based on the findings in the category basic skills and understanding, graduates were of the opinion that computer literacy is the most important attribute that contributes to graduate success in the workplace. Economic Management and Sciences faculties have none or few hands on courses for computer literacy, so it is understandable, with the continuous changing technologies that graduates feel that computer literacy is an important attribute for the labor market. Graduate employees feel that they are not equipped to work with the company software and therefore cannot complete tasks assigned to them which require working on the computer. Employers are under the assumption that graduates cannot handle large amounts of work which is a vital aspect of any corporate company. Numeracy and quantitative literacy is another important factor in the corporate world. This attribute serves as the ground rule for all business activities in the financial sector. Communication also plays a major role in the success of...
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