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Business Administration

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

Winter 4-16-2020



One of the goals of educational institutions is to prepare their graduates to be workplace-ready. The purpose of this paper is to identify the employability skills lacking in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) industry from employers' perspectives to assist STEM educational institutions in creating more relevant programs inclusive of employability skills.


This study addresses 16 job-specific skills based on data deriving from the responses of 250 Human Resource Managers (HRMs) who represent five manufacturing industries (Aerospace and Defense, Automotive, Consumer Products, Electronics and Industrial Manufacturing) located in five regions (Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, West-Mountain and Pacific) of the United States.


The median scores for all 16 skills confirmed their importance for employability in the five manufacturing industries. The five highest ranking skills were team player, self-motivation, verbal communication, problem-solving and being proactive, which align with previous studies on workplace skills.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is a call to all STEM educational institution stakeholders, both internal and external, to re-assess current curriculum and programs and collaborate to narrow the gap between graduate competencies and the practical needs of the workplace.


This paper attempts to bridge the gap between the competencies gained in STEM educational institutions and the competencies needed for the future workplace, as confirmed by HRM professionals. Although this study is focused on STEM educational institutions in the United States, it will be of interest to all STEM educational institutions worldwide who play a significant role in preparing the next generation of employees for the global workplace.

Publication Title

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning



Emerald Insights