Full paper pdf: DRMJ-vol06-no02-2017-03.pdf
Youth unemployment remains unacceptably high in Europe. Despite increasing numbers of well-educated graduates, employers often report difficulties in recruiting a skilled young workforce. The prevailing view is that educational institutions are slow to respond to the needs of the business community and do not sufficiently incorporate skills development into curricula. The reason for this mismatch might be found in the failure of three stakeholders (employers, students, and education institutions) to mutually understand their needs; they often operate in “parallel universes.” Research shows that the young workforce especially lacks a sufficient portfolio of soft skills. This study identifies gaps between competencies developed through education and those required by employers. We research the situation in the Republic of Macedonia and examine students’, professors’, and employers’ perceptions of the importance of soft skills and their development through university education. The results suggest that students are not sufficiently aware of the importance of soft skills compared with professors and employers. Furthermore, university education programs, despite reforms in the last decade, fail to develop the soft skills needed by employers in their graduates. The concluding discussion proposes ways to close the existing gaps, focusing on closer collaboration between education providers and employers in order to improve youth competencies and employability.
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