This work explores the concepts of work readiness and self-perceived employability, addressing contextually the perceptions from third-year bachelor students enrolled in the degree of Cultural Heritage and Tourism at the University of Macerata in academic year 2018-2019. The research aim was to identify perceptions of undergraduates in terms of skills and employability potential to design effective teaching interventions. Following literature review, the paper describes collected data and discusses around key research questions, related to (a) perception the world of work; (b) assessment of possessed skills; (c) estimation of employment possibilities; (d) perception of preparation to the labour market. Results show a gap between perceptions of the labour market and possessed skills, a medium-low self-perceived employability, and a low engagement in career development activities, where, to the other hand, perceived preparation provided by the university is declared as medium-high. Conclusions highlight the need of further work to better understand the implications of results for effective learning design.
Aikenhead G.S., Orpwood G., and Fensham P. (2011). Scientific literacy for a knowledge society. In: Linder C., Ostman L., Roberts D.A., Wickman P-O., Erickson G., and MacKinnon A. (Eds.). Exploring the landscape of scientific literacy (28-44). New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
Almalaurea (2018). XX Indagine - Condizione occupazionale dei Laureati. Consorzio
Almalaurea, Bologna, IT.
Atlay M. and Harris R. (2000). An Institutional Approach to Developing Students’ ‘Transferable’ Skills. Innovations in Education & Training International, 37(1): 76-84. DOI: 10.1080/135580000362115.
Banca d’Italia – Eurosistema (2018). Economie regionali. L’economia delle Marche.
Serie Economie Regionali, 1.
Bandura A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In: Ramachaudran V. S. (Ed.). In: Encyclopedia of
human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press.
Berntson E. and Marklund S. (2007). The relationship between perceived employability
and subsequent health. Work and Stress, 21(3): 279-292. DOI:
Berntson E., Sverke M. & Marklund M. (2006). Predicting perceived employability: Human capital or labour market opportunities? Economic and Industrial Democracy, 27(2): 223-44. DOI: 10.1177/0143831X06063098.
Billett S. (1998). Constructing vocational knowledge: situations and other social sources. Journal of Education and Work, 11(3): 255-274. DOI:
Billett S. (2010). Lifelong learning and self: Work, subjectivity and learning. Studies in
Brown P. and Hesketh A. (2004). The Mismanagement of Talent: Employability and Jobs in the Knowledge Economy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Brown S. D., Tramayne S., Hoxha D., Telander K., Fan X., Lent R. W. (2008). Social
cognitive predictors of college students’ academic performance and persistence: A meta-analytic path analysis. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 72: 298-308. DOI:
Caballero C. and Walker A. (2010). Work readiness in graduate recruitment and selection: A review of current assessment methods. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 1(1): 13-25. DOI: 10.21153/jtlge2010vol1no1art546.
Caballero C.L., Walker A. and Fuller‐Tyszkiewicz M. (2011). The work readiness scale
(WRS): developing a measure to assess work readiness in college graduates. Journal of teaching and learning for graduate employability, 2(2): 41‐54. DOI:
Casner-Lotto J., Barrington L. and Wright M. (2006). Are they really ready to work?
Employers’ perspectives on the basic knowledge and applied skills of new entrants to the 21st century U.S. workforce. (Research Report BED-06-Workforce). Washington DC, USA: The Conference Board, Inc., the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resources Management.
Cavanagh J., Burston M., Southcombe A. and Bartram T. (2015). Contributing to a
graduate-centred understanding of work readiness: An exploratory study of Australian undergraduate students' perceptions of their employability. The International Journal of Management Education, 13: 278-288. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijme.2015.07.002.
Clark H., LeFebvre M., Burkum K. and Kyte T. (2013). Work Readiness Standards and
Coben D., Dawes M. & and Lee N. (2005). Financial literacy education and Skills for Life. National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy. London, UK.
Coetzee M. (2012). A framework for developing student graduateness and employability in the economic and management sciences at the University of South Africa. In: Developing student graduateness and employability: Issues, provocations, theory and practical guidelines, pp.119-152. Johannesburg, ZA: KR Publishing.
Daniels J. and Brooker J. (2014). Student identity development in higher education:
implications for graduate attributes and work-readiness. Educational Research, 56(1): 65-76. DOI: 10.1080/00131881.2013.874157.
De Vos A., De Hauw S. and Van der Heijden B.I.J.M. (2011). Competency development and career success: The mediating role of employability. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79: 438-447. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2011.05.010.
Du Gay P. (1996). Consumption and identity at work. London, UK: Sage.
El Mansour B. and Dean J.C. (2016). Employability Skills as Perceived by Employers and University. Faculty in the Fields of Human Resource Development (HRD) for Entry Level Graduate Jobs. Journal of Human Resource and Sustainability Studies, 4: 39-49. DOI: 10.4236/jhrss.2016.41005.
Eraut M. (1994). Developing Professional Knowledge and Competence. London/Washington D.C.: Falmer Press.
Forrier A., Sels L. and Stynen D. (2009). Career mobility at the intersection between
agent and structure: a conceptual model. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 82(4): 739-759. DOI: 10.1348/096317909X470933.
Gardner P. D. and Liu W.-Y. (1997). Prepared to perform? Employers rate work force
readiness of new grads. Journal of Career Planning & Employment, 57(3): 32-56.
Garsten C. and Jacobsson K. (2003). Learning to be employable: an introduction. In:
Garsten C. and Jacobsson K. (eds.). Learning to be employable: new agendas on work, responsibility and learning in a globalizing world. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Glover D., Law S. and Youngman A. (2002). Graduateness and employability: Student
perceptions of the personal outcomes of university education. Research in Post Compulsory Education, 7(3): 293-306. DOI: 10.1080/13596740200200132.
Hart P. D. (2008). How should colleges assess and improve student learning? Employers’ views on the accountability challenge. A survey of employers conducted on behalf of: The Association of American Colleges and Universities. Washington, DC: Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc.
Hinchliffe G. (2006). Graduate Employability and Lifelong Learning: A Need for Realism? In: Hager P. and Holland S. (eds.). Graduate Attributes, Learning and Employability. Dordrecht: Springer.
Holbrook J. and Rannikmae M. (2009). The Meaning of Scientific Literacy. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, July, 4(3): 275-288.
Huber M. Brown C., Hutchings P., Gale R., Miller R. and Breen M. (Eds.) (2007). Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect. Public Report of the Integrative
Learning Project. (Stanford, CA: the Association of American Colleges and Universities and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). Retrieved October 17, 2019: http://gallery.carnegiefoundation.org/ilp/.
Jackson D. and Wilton N. (2017). Perceived employability among undergraduates and
the importance of career self-management, work experience and individual characteristics. Higher Education Research & Development, 36(4): 747-762. DOI:
Jollands M., Jolly L. and Molyneaux T. (2012). Project-based learning as a contributing
factor to graduates’ work-readiness. European Journal of Engineering Education, 37(2): 143-154. DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2012.665848.
Knight P.T. and Yorke M. (2003). Assessment, Learning and Employability. Maidenhead, UK: Society for Research in Higher Education and the Open University Press.
Maiolo M., Zuffo R.G. and Cortini M. (2013). Students’ Academic Performance and
Employability A Study on Italian Undergraduates. International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 19(4): 49-60. DOI: 10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v19i04/48669.
Mason G., Williams G. and Cranmer S. (2009). Employability skills initiatives in higher education: what effects do they have on graduate labour market outcomes? Education Economics, 17(1): 1-30. DOI: 10.1080/09645290802028315.
Monteiro S., Ferreira J.A. and Almeida L.S. (2018). Self-perceived competency and self-perceived employability in higher education: the mediating role of career adaptability. Journal of Further and Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2018.1542669.
Prikshat V., Kumar S. and Nankervis A. (2019). Work-readiness integrated competence
Purcell K. and Elias P. (2004). Seven years on: graduate careers in a changing labour
market. Manchester, UK: Higher Education Careers Services Unit.
Qenani E., MacDougall N. and Sexton C. (2014). An empirical study of self-perceived
employability: Improving the prospects for student employment success in an uncertain environment. Active Learning in Higher Education, 15(3): 199-213. DOI:
Rogers R.R. (2001). Reflection in Higher Education: A Concept Analysis. Innovative
Higher Education, 26(1).
Rothwell A. and Arnold J. (2007). Self-perceived employability: development and
validation of a scale. Personnel Review, 36(5): 23-41. DOI: 10.1108/00483480710716704.
Rothwell A., Herbert I. and Rothwell F. (2008). Self-Perceived Employability: Construction and Initial Validation of a Scale for University Students. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 73(1): 1-12. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2007.12.001.
Schön D.A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New
York, USA: Basic Books.
Searle J.R. (1995). The construction of social reality. London, UK: Penguin.
Sin C. and Neave G. (2016). Employability deconstructed: perceptions of Bologna
stakeholders. Studies in Higher Education, 41(8): 1447-1462. DOI:
Slade A. (2014). Mind the soft skills gap. Association for Talent Development. Retrieved October 17, 2019: www.td.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TDArchive/2014/04/Intelligence-Mind-the-Soft-Skills-Gap.
Smith V. (2016). Employment Uncertainty and Risk. In: Edgell S., Gottfried H., and
Granter E. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Sociology of Work and Employment. London, UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Sosteric M. (1996). Subjectivity and the labour process: a case study in the restaurant
Vargas R., Sánchez-Queija M.I., Rothwell R. and Parra Á. (2018). Self-perceived employability in Spain. Education + Training, 60(3): 226-237. DOI: 10.1108/ET-03-2017-0037.
WEF (2015). New Vision for Education. Unlocking the Potential of Technology. World
Wesley. S., Jackson. V. and Lee M. (2017). The perceived importance of core soft skills
between retailing and tourism management students, faculty and businesses. Employee Relations, 39(1): 79-99. DOI: 10.1108/ER-03-2016-0051.
Whittle A. (2005). Preaching and practising ‘flexibility’: Implications for theories of
subjectivity at work. Human Relations, 58(10): 1301-1322. The Tavistock Institute. SAGE, London ,Thousand Oaks CA, New Delhi.
Wise S. (2013). The Impact of Financial Literacy on New Venture Survival. International Journal of Business and Management; 8(23). DOI: 10.5539/ijbm.v8n23p30.
Wye. C. K. and Lim Y. (2009). Perception differential between employers and undergraduates on the importance of employability skills. International Education Studies, 2(1): 95e105. DOI: 10.5539/ies.v2n1p95.
Xu L. and Zia B. (2012). Financial Literacy around the World An Overview of the Evidence with Practical Suggestions for the Way Forward. Policy Research Paper 6107, The World Bank Development Research Group.
Yorke M. (2004). Employability in Higher Education: what it is - what it is not. Higher