ENGINEERING JOB SKILLS IN CROATIAN
ECONOMY: EMPLOYERS' PERSPECTIVE

Nikša Dubreta and Luka Bulian

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture
Zagreb, Croatia

INDECS 16(1), 1-20, 2018
DOI 10.7906/indecs.16.1.1
Full text available here.
 

Received: 6th March 2018.
Accepted: 26th 2018.
Regular article

ABSTRACT

Different actors, or stakeholders, are interested and want to participate in discussions and interventions related to the topic of skills as an important outcome of engineering education. In the Croatian context, the entire process is still predominantly internally driven and determined by academic evaluations while the involvement of the alumni and employers as external stakeholders is sporadic and under researched. Since Croatian employers are not sufficiently familiar with the levels and structures of reformed study programs, the main objective of this research was to assess to what extent the current and largely accepted set of engineering skills fit their expectations.
By reviewing available literature, 36 key skills were identified and used in a questionnaire administrated to Croatian employers, resulting in 418 completed and usable responses. Results show that employers find every assessed skill as somewhat/extremely valuable. However, it is found that employers most valued skills related to the wider set of transferable skills with somewhat greater emphases on skills that reflect professionalism and work ethic. In general, it turned out that employers approach transferable skills in terms of their functionality. Mean comparison within subgroups has shown statistically significant differences with regard to respondent's gender. In general, women fit the theorized dimensions more than their male counterparts, perhaps indicating that they understand all skills, and transferable skills in particular, more holistically than men.
Finally, in order to understand the underlying structure of the explored items, exploratory factor analysis was employed, resulting in 8 clear dimensions suggesting engineering "employability skills" in the Croatian context.

KEY WORDS

engineering, skills, learning outcomes, employers

CLASSIFICATION

JEL:J24


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