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Employability Skills Survey


The 2015 Employability Skills Survey was carried out by Victoria University’s Careers and Employment Service.

The goals of the survey were to:

  • identify the top ten skills and attributes which employers look for in new graduates and students
  • explore the level of competency expected for each of these skills and attributes at the time of hiring
  • identify employer satisfaction with the levels of competency that Victoria students and graduates demonstrate for the skills and attributes identified as the most important.

The Victoria Business School also commissioned part of the research to survey employers about the most desirable skills and attributes when specifically recruiting commerce graduates.

We received 346 eligible responses from local, regional, national, and international organisations. The respondent population consisted of 61% private, 28% public, and 11% non-profit organisations. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest response set of an employability skills survey in New Zealand and Australia to date.

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Full Report Executive Summary Report Role of Work Ethic and Academic Achievement

Top 10 Skills/Attributes Sought After in University Graduates

The following skills and attributes were ranked as top ten by the survey respondents:

All RespondentsRespondents recruiting Commerce degree majors
1Work ethicVerbal communication skills
2Verbal communication skillsWork ethic
3Energy & enthusiasmAnalytical & critical thinking
4Analytical & critical thinkingInterpersonal skills
5Problem solvingTeam work
6Team workProblem solving
7Interpersonal skillsEnergy & enthusiasm
8Written communication skillsWritten communication skills
9Self-managementInitiative & enterprise
10Initiative & enterpriseSelf-Management

Employers also commented on the importance of graduates demonstrating a genuine interest in the work of the organisation and good understanding of the industry sector. Another aspect considered important were extracurricular activities and life experiences such as living independently or overseas travel. Employers seek evidence of interests that go beyond the degree course, especially those that involve hands-on experience in a work environment. These comments highlight the value that employers place on students and graduates being well-rounded individuals who can demonstrate at least some strengths in all of the skill areas within the top ten list. The results illustrate that the key to employability is the combination of the skills, and the best approach to the top ten skills and attributes is to view them collectively rather than individually.

For any assistance:

Elizabeth Medford, Manager