| Journal Article

Journal Article

Basic information and communication technology skills among Canadian immigrants and non-immigrants

Male immigrants are observed to be disproportionately employed in ICT information and communication technology (ICT) industries and occupations. A measure of basic ICT skills is employed to document differences in skill levels and labour market earnings across immigration classes and categories of Canadians at birth. Adult immigrants, including those assessed by the points system, are found to have lower average ICT scores than Canadians at birth, although the rate of return to ICT skills is not statistically different between them. Immigrants who arrive as children, and the Canadian-born children of immigrants, have similar outcomes to the Canadian-born children of Canadian-born parents.

Work-readiness integrated competence model: Conceptualisation and scale development

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to conceptualise graduate work-readiness (GWR) and to develop a scale to measure it. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology entailed the compilation of a literature review and the conduct of qualitative interviews and a focus group to generate items. This study used the “resource-based view” approach to conceptualise a multi-dimensional–“work-readiness integrated competence model (WRICM)”–consisting of four main factors (namely, intellectual, personality, meta-skill and job-specific resources), with a further ten sub-dimensions. Further, a series of tests were performed to assess its reliability and validity. Findings: A final 53-item WRICM scale covering four dimensions and ten sub-dimensions of GWR was developed based on the perceptions of 362 HR professionals and managers from seven Asia-Pacific countries. The ten sub-dimensions covering 53 work-readiness skills reflect the perceptions of stakeholders regarding the work-readiness of graduates. The scale was found to be psychometrically sound for measuring GWR. Research limitations/implications: Though the WRICM model is based on the inputs of different stakeholders of GWR (employers, educators, policy makers and graduates), the development of the WRICM scale is based on the perspectives of industry/employers only. Practical implications: The WRICM model has implications for education, industry, professional associations, policy makers and for graduates. These stakeholders can adapt this scale in assessing the work-readiness of graduates in different streams of education. Originality/value: The authors believe that the WRICM model is the first multi-dimensional construct that is based on a sound theory and from the inputs from graduate work-readiness stakeholders from seven Asia-Pacific countries.

Work-integrated learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics: Drivers of innovation for students

Internationally, innovation represents the lifeblood of modern economies. In particular, there is growing recognition of the vital role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educators in developing students' innovation skills for the jobs of the future. Work-integrated learning (WIL) has emerged as an important pedagogical approach for developing innovation capabilities. This paper is based on a quantitative study that examines the key factors driving innovation in STEM WIL students. The study undertakes a comparative analysis of students by age, gender, degree type, and placement duration. It found that students participating in longer durations of 20 weeks compared to 12 weeks had higher perceived levels of innovation skills. The study shows how feedback on skills can be provided to students and employers, with output from the tool used in this study. Therefore, it has implications for student career literacy, industry outreach and WIL program development.

Work-integrated learning and professional accreditation policies: An environmental health higher education perspective

The introduction of a new work-integrated learning (WIL) policy for university environmental health education programs seeking professional accreditation identified a number of problems. This included how to evaluate the acceptability of differing approaches to WIL for course accreditation purposes and a need to develop an agreed understanding of what constitutes WIL in environmental health. This paper describes a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach undertaken as an initial step towards addressing these problems. The key recommendation from this research is the need to develop a framework to evaluate approaches to WIL in environmental health. In such a framework, it is argued that a shift in focus from a specified period of time students are engaged in WIL, to greater consideration of the essential pedagogical features of the WIL activity is required. Additionally, input from all stakeholder groups, universities, students, employers and the professional body, is required.

Work and working in a changing world

Recent years have witnessed far reaching changes being made to the nature and organization of work and to work relationships, driven at least in part by increased competitive pressures, growing global integration and developments in information and communication technologies. Much has been written about the subject in scholarly and practitioner publications alongside increasing interest in the broader media. A central concern has been changes in the nature and organization of work and the relationship between organizations and the individuals that carry out work for them, as employees or contractors. These changes have also been connected to implications for society in general, including the implications for public spending, education and economic performance. Some commentators observe how changes in technology have facilitated greater flexibility in working arrangements, benefiting employees. Others, however, have argued that more jobs have become more precarious and characterized by increased job insecurity and work intensification (Hassard & Morris, 2018; Huws, et al, 2018; Rubery, et al., 2018). Recent industry reports have suggested that such changes will also lead to the creation of new jobs and potentially to new, improved ways of working with greater opportunities for learning and development (e.g. Deloitte, 2018; Price Waterhouse Coopers, 2017; World Economic Forum, 2016). In light of these developments, this Symposium examines contemporary changes in the nature of work, how it is conducted, how these changes are implemented and experienced by stakeholders. It will bring together contributions from an international group of established scholars working in the field drawing on empirical evidence from the UK, the Netherlands and North America. The papers are concerned with the findings of studies that explore the impact of technology on working arrangements, how they are experienced by employees and the extent to which technology can serve as a means of responding to complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity in today’s labour market.

Work placements at 14-15 years and employability skills

Purpose: In the UK, concern frequently has been voiced that young people lack appropriate employability skills. One way to address this is to provide work based placements. In general, previous research findings have indicated that young people find such placements useful because of help with career choice and relevant skills. However, most studies are retrospective and involve sixth form or degree students. The purpose of this paper is to extend previous research by collecting information before and after the placements. Design/methodology/approach: This investigation involved questionnaires with nearly 300 14-15 year-old students who provided a pre- and post-placement self-reports about their employability skills and their work-experience hosts provided ratings of employability skills at the end of the placement., Findings: There was a significant increase in student ratings of their employability skills from before to after the placement, and although the employers gave slightly lower ratings of some employability skills than the students, the two sets of ratings were reasonably close. In addition, the students had high expectations of the usefulness of the placements and these expectations were fulfilled as reported in the post-placement questionnaire. Originality/value: These positive findings, extend the knowledge of the effects of work based placements, by focussing on the opinion of the young people themselves, using a pre- to post-placement design, by validating student self-reports with host employer ratings, and by focussing on a younger than usual age group.

Why artificial intelligence will not outsmart complex knowledge work

The potential role of artificial intelligence in improving organisations' performance and productivity has been promoted regularly and vociferously since the 1960s. Artificial intelligence is today reborn out of big business, similar to the occurrences surrounding big data in the 1990s, and expectations are high regarding AI's potential role in businesses. This article discusses different aspects of knowledge work that tend to be ignored in the debate about whether or not artificial intelligence systems are a threat to jobs. A great deal of knowledge work concerns highly complex problem solving and must be understood in contextual, social and relational terms. These aspects have no generic nor universal rules and solutions and, thus, cannot be easily replaced by artificial intelligence or programmed into computer systems, nor are they constructed based on models of the rational brain. In this respect, this article draws on philosopher Herbert Dreyfus' thesis regarding artificial intelligence.

Vertical, horizontal and residual skills mismatch in the Australian graduate labour market

Studies of the Australian graduate labour market have found a substantial incidence of, and significant earnings effects from, vertical mismatch. This study extends the literature by examining horizontal mismatch, an important dimension of mismatch in its own right and which has been less studied. Over a quarter of Australian graduates are found to be mismatched, although the incidence is reduced in the longer term. Graduates from fields of study which are more occupation‐specific were found to be less likely to be mismatched. Earnings penalties were found for all forms of mismatch, and affected both general and specific fields of study.