Engineering Employability Skills: Students, Academics and Industry Professionals Perception

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Graduate employability is a major focal point of higher education. Designing curricula that equip graduates with the skills and attributes necessary to gain and retain employment is a challenge for Universities worldwide. This article investigates the perception
differential between students, academics, and industry professionals. The aim is to identify the relevant skills and attributes to facilitate the transition of mechanical engineering graduates from education to employment. The results establish an upper second-class degree as the most desirable qualification. Studying a professional-body accredited course and being a student member of a professional institution are seen as crucial, despite the latter not being recognised as such by students. Significant differences are identified in the importance of Information Technology skills and software packages, with an institutional bias identified amongst academics. Lastly, the key skills and attributes to secure graduate employment are determined, with striking differences between industry professionals and students, the former desiring a personal and professional attitude and professional conduct above all else, the importance of which is underestimated by students. The findings provide novel insights into employability skills for mechanical engineers, and it is envisaged they may contribute to aligning engineering curricula with employer expectations, allowing graduates and academics to identify key employability skills and attributes, and improving graduate employment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education
Early online date20 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (


  • Employability skills
  • graduate employability
  • engineering education
  • higher education
  • mechanical engineering


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