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Background: Employer skill requirements of graduates are monitored by Graduate Careers Australia, but health services management (HSM) specific employability skills (ES) perceived by graduates to be important on the job and their perceptions of skills they need to improve are not well reported. Academics need this feedback to improve course employment outcomes by helping current students identify and articulate appropriate
competencies to potential employers. Also teaching of industry requirements can help improve job matching for employers.
Method: Recent graduates working in HSM in New South Wales, Australia were surveyed to rate ES for importance and rate their own skill levels on the same items. The gap between these two ratings was identified for 44 ES. Results: ES important to recent graduates in rank order were: verbal communication skills, integrity and ethical conduct, time management, teamwork, priority setting, ability to work independently, organisational skills, written communication, being flexible and open minded and networking. Highest self-ratings were found for integrity and ethical conduct, ability to work independently, being flexible and open minded, tertiary qualifications, interpersonal skills, written communication skills, time management, life-long learning, priority setting and administration skills. Generally graduates rated their skills lower than their ratings of importance.
Conclusions: Recent graduates can provide valuable feedback to universities about ES required for HSM positions and identify their own skill gaps for development at work or through study. Generic skills rather than job-specific skills are what they rate as most important. Closer engagement of universities and employers is recommended especially through placements.
Abbreviations: ES – employability skills; GCA – Graduate Careers Australia; HEI – higher education institutions; HRM – human resource management; HSM – health services management; IPC – interpersonal and communication skills.