An empirical approach to identifying employability skills required of graduates in the environmental sciences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Universities are under pressure to produce work-ready graduates. This study analyzed 130 job advertisements to identify skills required by environmental science employers in Australia. For degree-related criteria, the most frequently required were content knowledge, a tertiary qualification and experience. Other desired skills were an understanding of environmental legislation, and an ability to undertake Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analysis, fieldwork, ecological surveys and species identification. For generic skills, more than half of advertisements required strong interpersonal, communication, writing and project management skills. It was concluded that universities should prioritize skills that occur most frequently in advertisements, and students should be given opportunities to participate in work experience. This would involve nurturing oral and written communication and teamwork skills, while equipping students with the ability to undertake ecological surveys in the field, identify important plants and animals, and conduct data analysis using GIS approaches. Senior undergraduate and postgraduate programs should include content on environmental policy and legislation, and the opportunity for students to hone their project and time management skills.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustry and Higher Education
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jul 2020

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