Geographia Polonica (2016) vol. 89, iss. 2

The role of competences for geography higher education in university-to-work transition

Danuta Piróg

Geographia Polonica (2016) vol. 89, iss. 2, pp. 221-236 | Full text

The objective of the article is to empirically verify the impact of assessing one’s own competences on the transition of recent university geography graduates from education to employment. The article also looks at the role of competences in predicting graduates’ situation on the job market. A Poland-wide survey (N=1120) was conducted which collected detailed data on self-assessment of one’s competences by students nearing graduation. A follow-up survey six months after graduation showed that only a high assessment of one’s own specialised competences had a somewhat significant impact on finding a job that would match one’s degree, pay reasonably well and give independence in exercising one’s duties at work. Discriminant function analysis was used to establish that the skills which had the greatest impact on whether the geographer remains unemployed or finds employment included socio-emotional and generic competences such as public speaking, team cooperation, precision, attention to detail and interpersonal communication skills. The research suggests, however, that given the current situation on the Polish labour market, these competences are not a key determining feature in the respondents’ transition to employment. Moreover, the set of competences does not comprise of variables that allow us to easily predict graduates’ situation on the labour market.

Keywords: competences, graduate, geography, higher education, labour market, transition

Danuta Piróg, Faculty of Geography Pedagogical University ofin Kraków, – Poland ul. Podchorążych 2, 30-084 Kraków