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Assessing Post-Secondary Graduates' Soft Skills, Job Search and Employment Outcomes

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Title: Assessing Post-Secondary Graduates' Soft Skills, Job Search and Employment Outcomes
Author: Payne, Alyssa
Department: Department of Psychology
Program: Psychology
Advisor: Hausdorf, Peter
Abstract: Today’s rapidly changing world and the shift from an industrial economy to an information and knowledge economy has had a profound impact on the skills required of recent graduates and employees in the Canadian and global labour market, placing increasing emphasis on soft skills (Mitchell, Skinner, & White, 2010; Robles, 2012). While employers are demanding soft skills in their new hires and post-secondary educational institutions are under ongoing pressure to prove the value of their programs, little work has examined whether the soft skills possessed by recent post-secondary graduates actually improve their job search and employment outcomes. The present thesis’ aim is twofold: 1) to assess the soft skills of recent graduates’ using a situational judgment test (SJT), and 2) to investigate the relationships between soft skills, job search self-efficacy, job search behaviours, and early-career employment outcomes. Though under-powered, findings suggest that soft skills may ease the school-to-work transition by contributing to recent graduates’ job search self-efficacy; r = .34, 95% CI [.18, .49], p < .01. Furthermore, findings of an exploratory qualitative analysis suggest that additional development of communication skills (e.g., networking and presentation skills) and self-management skills (e.g., stress-management, persistence, and self-confidence) in post-secondary education may be most beneficial in easing the crucial school-to-work transition.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/14131
Date: 2018-07
Rights: Attribution 2.5 Canada
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Attribution 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 2.5 Canada