The world is constantly changing to adapt to new societal ways, which results in a change of demands required by employers, in turn resulting in the constant need of updating the university educational curriculum (Brown et al., 2011). Today, there exists a gap between experts exploring where the world of work and the state of learning will need to be in the future; and due to this higher education institutions face increasing pressure to better prepare their graduates for the workforce (Ryan et al., 1996). Full-time employment immediately following graduation was 70.9 per cent in 2016, demonstrating the correlation between employment and education (Yezdani, 2017). There has been a great concern in the research literature about the job–education mismatch, meaning there exists lack of correspondence between the qualification level the job requires, and the level acquired through higher education. The aim of this study is to reduce such a mismatch, ensuring graduates are work ready upon completion of their undergraduate degree. In-order to reduce this mismatch, a third-generation activity theory (Bloomfield and Nguyen, 2015) is used in an educational setting to ascertain a relationship between the universities, students/graduates, and employers to better get an understanding of all the viewpoints. Comprehending professional experience through the perspective of activity theory, can enable all stakeholders to identify the perspectives of employers, students, and educational institutions to better understand their requirements. A mixed-methodology approach is used to collect the data and assist with better understanding this interaction (i.e., between students, universities, and employers), which can then be seen as the foundation to initiate a partnership between organizations and the university. The primary focus of a partnership is to develop a university curriculum, where such different elements of the two systems come into view and can be renegotiated for the benefit of graduates. The research will analyze current trends within Australian undergraduate Information Technology (IT) curricula to better understand the education-employability mismatch by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of current curricula. An empirical analysis on secondary data was collected from a range of publicly available undergraduate’s unit guides from Australian universities, to test a proposed framework derived from the information literacy framework (Lupton and Bruce, 2010) and the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). This will aim to improve the undergraduate education curriculum, with a view towards increasing employability rates post-graduation. The aim of this project is to ensure that students are taught current information. In doing so, the curriculum should aim for graduates not to only have current technical skills but also the ability to further develop their own learning with a variety of new skills such as fundamental, people, personal and thinking. Additionally, primary data has been collected from interviews with IT employers responsible for recruitment in-order to identify the needs of the employers and matching that with the through a proposed education-employability matrix. Future work will aim to look at perspectives of the students and academics through first-hand data collection (i.e., interviews and surveys). The findings should enable the following key items (1) better understanding the current education-employability mismatch; (2) identifying the employability gaps in current IT curricula and (3) improving the current curricula and learning outcomes, with a view towards increasing IT employability rates post-graduation.
Alavi, Hijab; Smith, Stephen; and Busch, Peter, "Improving the Education Employability Mismatch for IT Graduates" (2022). AMCIS 2022 TREOs. 47.