Wellington's Knowledge Economy

School of Engineering and Computer Science Seminar.

Industry views on IT graduate soft skills and their impact on profitability.

Victoria University in partnership with the regional agency Grow Wellington has been conducting multi-year, cross discipline research on Wellington's knowledge economy, specifically focusing on IT. Research led by Dr Richard Norman of Victoria University's Business School and published in 2014, drew on 113 interviews with local senior managers, including 70 CEOs, exploring the state of the economy and employment opportunities within the Wellington region. This year he has been joined by the Victoria University's School of Engineering and Computer Science in order to explore feedback from some industry quarters that Victoria University IT graduates are not meeting industry expectations.

Matt Stevens, an Engineering Masters student at Victoria University, conducted Grounded Theory research on how IT graduates are perceived by industry in Wellington. Specifically, the research looked at the type of skills that industry expects of IT graduates. Matt's research found that industry accepts that all IT graduates need on-going development in technical skills, however, industry is largely reluctant to train in soft skills, preferring instead to recruit for these skills. Soft skills add considerable value to a graduate and enhance, for example, individual learning, team efficiency, client relations and awareness of the business context. Consequently these soft skills impact on the profitability of businesses. It was also found that Universities providing these skills to graduates tend to have very strong connections with industry and high rates of industry participation in teaching. At least four examples of academic programs that involve industry and provide soft skills to graduates have been identified as potential opportunities for the School.

Matt will be presenting his findings on at 11.30 am on Thursday 4 June. Afterwards there will be a lunch so that you can talk further about the findings. Copies of the report will be made available after the presentation.

For catering purposes please let us know if you would like to attend the seminar: suzan.hall@vuw.ac.nz


VUW / Grow Wellington
VUW, Kelburn Campus, Alan McDiarmid building, room AM101, Wellington
New Zealand
Thursday, June 4, 2015 - 11:30 to 12:30