Development of Key Employability Skills for Business Students in Higher Education. Evaluation of a Business Simulation game as a method to enhance employability

  • Arwa Asiri

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Employability has been and continues to be the top of the higher education agenda. What is
evident in the literature is that defining and measuring employability are challenging tasks.
More specifically, little research has been carried out to define what constitute generic or key
employability skills in the context of higher education. This research fills this gap by presenting
a multi-dimension framework of key employability skills and methods to measure these skills
in higher education. In addition, there are many methods implemented in HE to develop and
measure the employability of students, including placements, internships, Work-Integrated
Learning programmes, and business simulations. Most of these methods have been investigated
in previous research. However, there are still very few studies that examined business
simulations in developing the employability of students. To fill this gap, the study also
investigates the role of a business simulation in enhancing specific key employability skills.

The study uses a mixed-method approach involving two phases of data collection. The first
phase was a Delphi technique used to collect data from experts in the field of graduate
employability. This phase was analysed qualitatively using MAXQDA. The second phase was
a quasi-experimental one-group pre-post-test method. This phase was analysed quantitatively
using SPSS.

The study contributes to knowledge by developing a holistic and multi-dimensional framework
of key employability skills, definitions and methods for measuring these skills in HE. The
framework highlights the links and dependencies between the dimensions and the skills. It also
recognises the overlap between developing and measuring key employability skills. The study
also found that business simulation can enhance several key employability skills of business
students. Finally, some of the demographic characteristics, including gender and work
experience, influenced students’ perceptions regarding several key employability skills. These
findings are intended to help HEIs improve the development and measurement of key
employability skills of business students.
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew Greasley (Supervisor) & Victoria Uren (Supervisor)


  • Employability skills
  • Personal attributes
  • Career building skills
  • business simulation
  • Higher education

Cite this