The Importance of Employees’ Competencies: A Comparison between Educational and Business Perspective
Purpose: The purpose of the presented research is to evaluate whether employers’ expectations and needs related to the competencies of potential employees are properly identified by educational institutions do institutions responsible for education and training know which competencies are considered significant by business, and if they do not what are the areas of potential discrepancies? Design/Methodology/Approach: The research was based on comparison between opinions of managers of companies operating in eastern Poland (381 cases), and representatives of educational institutions, universities, vocational, technical and secondary schools located in this area (389 cases). For each group, self reporting questionnaire was designed, in which participants were asked to evaluate the importance of 39 competencies from four groups: social, personal, managerial and professional. Obtained values were analysed and compared between groups using Man-Whitney’s U test. Findings: During the research the hierarchies of the importance of employee competencies were established. In the opinion of managers, the most important are four personal competencies, i.e., scrupulousness, professional and work development, time management and kindness, least important, whole group of managerial competencies, but also IT skills, process management and foreign languages. The representatives of educational institutions assume that the most important is a whole set of interpersonal skills, least, those grouped in ‘managerial’ category. Additionally, the gap in the perception of those competencies by both groups was identified. The main differences include (1) slight overestimation of the importance of all competencies by teachers and (2) significant overestimation of the importance of most of the personal and professional competencies. Practical Implications: There are two categories of practical implications resulting from the research. First of all, it provides information for employees on expectations of potential employers, and therefore makes it possible to gain advantage on a labour market. Secondly, it may be considered as a clear roadmap for educational institutions, defining the areas of teaching processes which should be modified in order to make them more adjusted to local companies’ needs and their structure of expectations. Originality/Value: In existing research related to employee competencies there was no attempt of comparison of two groups, one responsible for development, second interested in accessing those competencies and of the identification of the gap in the perception of competencies’ importance between them.