AN ESTIMATE OF MAJOR-JOB RELEVANCY AND THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE IN HONG KONG
TILO LI, MARK TSANG, MARINE YEUNG, EUGENE LI
Studies have revealed that many graduates have jobs unrelated to the subjects they majored in at tertiary level. Other research around graduate attributes has found that in seeking employment, discipline-specific skills are not as important as generic skills, such as languages, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, with many employers highlighting work attitude and communication skills as the two most important graduate attributes. Generic skills are learnt through, among other channels, general education courses that teach students soft and transferrable skills, and general education has been made part of the bachelor’s degree programs in most colleges and universities. However, many students may not be aware of the relevance of general education to their future employability and so are not enthusiastic about non-discipline specific courses. The study set out to explore the relevance of disciplinary and generic skills to employment in Hong Kong in order to shed some light on the significance of generic skills and the role of general education in the tertiary curriculum. The research questions of this study are: First, among all the degree holders in the working population in Hong Kong, what is the percentage of those holding jobs related to their major of study? Second, is there any difference in the level of relevance of an individual’s major at college to the type and nature of the job that the graduate holds (hereafter “major-job relevancy”) across demographic groups with different education levels, majors of study, qualifications obtained from different countries, occupations, income levels, and genders? Third, what are the most important skills for different groups of employees in Hong Kong? The population of this study is comprised of working degree/sub-degree holders. Only the first degree (for degree holders) or sub-degree (for sub-degree holders) was taken into consideration in investigating the issue of major-job relevance. A total of 1,139 questionnaires were collected through random telephone cold-calling and social media. Among these respondents, 490 possess a sub-degree or above academic qualification. Our data suggest that, in Hong Kong, less than 50 percent of graduates in employment are in jobs perceived to have more than 50 percent relevancy to their major of studies. There is a difference in major-job relevancy among different groups of graduates.
Major-job Relevancy, General Education, Graduate Attributes
TILO LI, MARK TSANG, MARINE YEUNG, EUGENE LI (2017). An Estimate of Major-job Relevancy and the Relative Importance of Professional Skills in the Workplace in Hong Kong. International Journal of Teaching and Education, Vol. V(1), pp. 36-53. , DOI: 10.52950/TE.2017.5.1.004
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