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Comparison between employers’ and students’ expectations in respect of employability skills of university graduates

The study was aimed at comparing the expectations of Slovak employers and students in terms of employability skills. Twenty-seven companies which employ university graduates working in the manufacturing and financial sectors, represented by a Managing Director or Human Resources Director and 534 university students in the Bratislava region completed a questionnaire that evaluated the perceived importance of, and satisfaction with, generic employability skills. Employers perceived a lack of appropriate skills as the biggest barrier to employing graduates. With regard to the importance of skills, students considered only three skills to be more important than employers did; experience in the field, leadership and authority, and field knowledge. Compared to students, employers regarded engagement and willingness to take on extra work as the most important. In terms of satisfaction, students were more satisfied than employers in nineteen skills from a total of thirty-two. To reduce the satisfaction gap between graduates and employers, higher education institutions can promote students’ self-awareness through career psychological services centers.