Institutional Training Characteristics and Employability Among University Graduates in the Banking Sector in Kenya
Nabali, Kevin K.
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Despite the significant monitoring of training offered by universities in Kenya, the number of unemployed graduates due to perceived lack of quality and work-related skills is rising. Key policy makers are reluctant to admit the extent of Kenya‟s graduate unemployment, while employers apportion more blame to the universities. In turn, the universities blame employers for „locking out‟ students from opportunities to gain relevant work experience. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between Institutional training characteristics and graduate employability in the banking sector in Kenya. The study‟s overall objective was to determine the relationship between graduate course experiences and graduate support strategies and graduate employability in the banking sector. This study was based on multiple theories, i.e. Adam Smith and David Ricardo‟s classical theory of Value and Alfred Marshall‟s Neoclassical theory of value, which relates the product‟s quality (employability of a graduate) and production process (Training at the Higher Education Institutions) to the consumer (the labor market). Correlational research design was used for this study with questionnaires used to collect data from graduate employees. The study targeted working graduates in the banking sector from both private and public universities in Kenya from which a sample of 393 graduates were randomly selected. Two questionnaires were used to collect the data. The Course Experience questionnaire had a reliability Cronbach α = 0.817 while Graduate Support Initiative questionnaire had a reliability Cronbach α = .769. The validity of the questionnaires was established through extensive review of pilot data. Both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Correlation analysis was used to generate correlation coefficients between the predictor variables (Graduate‟s course experience and graduate support strategies) and graduate employability measured in ratio scale as time spent in active job search between graduation and first employment while regression analysis was used to determine if any differentials in employability could be attributed to differences in graduate‟s course experiences and support offered to them during training. The study found that banking sector graduates were satisfied with their university course experiences with a score of 61.73 out of 90 but far from impressed with the level of graduate support they received with an average score of 19.59 out of a maximum score of 40. Also, 58.8% of respondents were employed within 18months of graduation. Graduate Course Experience correlated with employability at r = 0.492 while Graduate Support correlated with employability at r = 0.476. Graduate course experiences accounted for 24.2% of the differences in employability while graduate support Strategies accounted for 22.6% of the differences in employability. Respondents who indicated to have received enough graduate support spent less than 18 months in active job search. The study concluded that graduate employability can be linked to the nature of graduates‟ course experiences and level of graduate support received. This study recommends that universities should adopt as many graduate support strategies as possible, key among them: adoption of graduate e-portfolios, provide opportunities for Work Integrated Learning and engage the alumni.