University Graduates’ Employability Skills Preparedness in Kenyan Economic Sectors

Nancy G. Rintari


The fast expansion of Kenyan universities has only focused on raising student numbers rather than improving the quality of education and research. These challenges are raising doubts on the quality of graduates produced by the Kenyan universities and by extension the level of their preparedness in their employability skills. The first objective investigated how graduates’ quality compared amongst various universities in Kenya. second was to find out how university graduates from different sectors in Kenya compare in terms of employability skills and the third was to investigate the link between graduate quality and employability skills. Literature review was on quality of education globally, in Africa, regionally and locally while the conceptual framework on quality of graduates and work preparedness was developed to guide the study. In this study, university graduates were defined as the individuals who held a bachelor’s degree for one to five years and were in employment.  The study used descriptive and exploratory designs to conduct qualitative analysis. The target population was 420 graduate employees and 46 supervisors/managers of the COYA 2013 companies who were given a 5 Likert Scale questionnaire ranging from 1 strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree. A survey of 5 public and 5 private universities was conducted to interrogate the university side of the research to get an all-inclusive perspective of this study. Characteristics of the study variables were analyzed using SPSS and the relationship between variables was tested using Pearson’s correlation analysis. The study results show that service and education (M = 4.5), finance (4.2), Agriculture (4.0), manufacturing (3.9), ICT (3.5), Regulatory (3.5), Communication (3.1), Hotel (3.0), insurance (2.9) and transport (2.0). It shows that service, education and finance required more employability skills than other sectors. There was a positive link (p value 0.000) between present job competence, job confidence, job involvement and employability skills of graduates. The study recommends that universities should in the industry in developing a curriculum that satisfies the university, graduates and labour market requirements.  The research added new knowledge on quality of graduates and employability skills developed a conceptual framework to guide the study and conceptualize the variable of the study.

Keywords: Employability, economic sectors, graduates quality, University Graduates and conceptual framework.

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