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Engineering graduates’ development of expertise and skills –views from academic stakeholders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 47th SEFI Annual Conference
Subtitle of host publicationVarietas delectat… Complexity is the new normality, 16-20 September 2019, Budapest, Hungary
EditorsBalázs Vince Nagy, Mike Murphy, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Anikó Kálmán
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-018-2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2019
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education -
Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …


ConferenceAnnual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
Period1/01/00 → …


This paper investigates skills development of graduated engineers from the standpoint of academic stakeholders; namely, academic staff members, industrial employers and graduated engineers themselves. The aim was to discover which skills have satisfactorily developed and which have not during university studies relative to their current importance in working life. For such a purpose, a national-wide graduate survey measuring the importance of 26 skills on the scale 0–5 was used as a basis for research. Then, 96 academic staff members rated the importance of each skill in their curriculum using options: ‘nice to have’, ‘should have’ and ‘must have’. Finally, 24 employers rated the importance of these skills on the scale 0–5.
The results from the survey indicate that traditional academic skills such as information retrieval, written communication, knowledge of the research of own field, and mathematical and natural sciences are currently the most well-developed skills relative to their importance. The same skills were considered as ‘must have’ in academic staff members’ ratings, and hence, these skills were fostered in curriculums. Conversely, creativity, social skills and leadership were the least developed skills relative to their importance in graduates’ opinions and according to the employers’ ratings. Interestingly, these skills were considered as ‘nice to have’ in academic staff members’ ratings, and hence, not emphasized in curriculums.
In conclusion, the skill profile of graduated engineers is consistent with the skills universities currently value, but there is some skill mismatch between expectations in working life and the actual expertise graduates currently have.


  • skills development, expertise, university business cooperation, accreditation, engineering education research

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland