Graduates’ perceptions and employers’ expectations: Essential skills in Hong Kong workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

David Matthew Edmonds*, Olga Zayts-Spence, Zoë Fortune, Jaime Sau Ying Fung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper explores the skills that Hong Kong employers and graduates see as important to have in the workplace as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our data are interviews with 40 employers and 69 graduates in the territory. Using reflexive thematic analysis, our qualitative findings center around four themes. First, we highlight the necessity for graduates to have hard and soft skills when entering Hong Kong workplaces. Second, we reveal the disjuncture that exists regarding the skills that graduates acquire at university and those expected in prospective workplaces. Third, we outline the perceived strength in hard skills possessed by graduates. Fourth, we elucidate the perceived deficit in graduates’ soft skills upon entering the workplace. We discuss the implications of our findings not just for understanding the workplace during the pandemic, but also in post-COVID-19 workplaces.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustry and Higher Education
Early online date21 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • hard skills
  • soft skills
  • transition
  • university education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Education

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