New Age, New Learners, New Skills: What Skills Do Graduates Need to Succeed in the New Economy?
The goal of this study was to improve the current understanding of labor market demands for various skills and attributes of college graduates. Changes such as globalization, technological advancements and the emergence of the knowledge economy have caused educational institutions to focus their attention in revising and redesigning their curriculum. The timely identification and the effective response to these changes requires that higher education revisits the issue of the set of skills essential to the economy and the labor market, and the best ways to transfer them to college graduates. A choice-based conjoint experiment was used to identify labor market preferences for college graduate attributes. A web survey with employers in the food and fiber industry was carried out during the months of September 2011-April 2012. Using an experimental design, hypothetical candidate profiles were created and used in an interactive conjoint survey. Hierarchical Bayesian method was used to estimate marginal utilities for college graduate attributes. Results of the study indicate that there has been a shift in the needs for skills in the labor market. New skills, such as creativity are emerging as important attributes to the knowledge economy.
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