Total Interpretive Structural Modelling of predictors for graduate employability for the information technology sector

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Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning


© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a qualitative analysis of the significant factors that influence graduate employability in information technology (IT) sector. This is imperative, given the rising “employability gap” confronted by this sector, especially in context of India. The key factors that influence graduate employability have been drawn from the literature. This research paper aims to conduct a preliminary validation of these predictors of employability and analyse the contextual relationship between them through Total Interpretive Structural Modelling (TISM) technique (Nasim, 2011; Sushil, 2012). This technique is an innovative version of Interpretive Structural Modelling proposed by Warfield (1973). Design/methodology/approach: The antecedents of graduate employability have been identified through qualitative analysis of available literature. Further, TISM has been used to derive a structural model and analyse the contextual relationship among these identified antecedents. The structural model has been derived through in-depth interviews with experts that include senior middle management professionals from reputed IT companies in India. The developed TISM model has been further validated through assessment surveys with a larger set of domain experts to enhance the credibility of the obtained results. Findings: Based on the data collected from the domain experts, eight elements including employability and its seven antecedents were hierarchically modelled into four levels. While all the seven identified factors were endorsed by the industry experts as the drivers of employability, some of the key factors affecting employability emerged to be technical specialties knowledge, technology management skills and communication skills. Furthermore, the developed model has been subsequently validated and accepted based on the results of the assessment surveys conducted with a larger set of domain experts. Research limitations/implications: The findings are expected to help the graduates seeking jobs in IT and allied sectors and the higher education institutions (HEIs) offering academic programmes in this domain. These findings would enable the graduates to understand the significance of the different knowledge/skill areas that influence their employability and increase the chances of securing job. Also, the HEIs can comprehend the developed model to understand the demands of the employers, the rationale behind it and further align their course curriculum/teaching methodologies in sync with their expectations. The developed model should be put to empirical validation for greater reliability. Originality/value: The qualitative analysis of the antecedents of graduate employability using TISM technique is an original methodological contribution to the field. Though the TISM technique has been used in research studies across different sectors like e-government (Nasim, 2011), higher education (Prasad and Suri, 2011) and flexible manufacturing systems (Dubey and Ali, 2014), the application of this technique to employability in IT sector in India is a novel contribution.

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