One of the important roles of HE institutions is to train graduates who will smoothly enter the labour market. The literature review demonstrates that one effective method to facilitate this transition is to ensure students acquire professional experience. The aim was to establish the scale and characteristics of employers’ demand for work experience expressed in job adverts. The data sample consisted of 17 397 adverts posted over a period of 18 months and addressed to geography, earth and environmental sciences specialists across six European countries.
Quantitative analyses demonstrated that over one third of job postings required work experience. Text mining methods of content analysis revealed differences in the structure of high-importance words in adverts addressed to graduates with no, some or short work experience and those addressed to candidates with more extensive professional experience. A hierarchical cluster analysis helped us identify strong relationships between the word ‘experience’ and other words in specific subsets of adverts. The analysis led us to determine the characteristics of employers’ demand for work experience. The results help outline the directions of education policy for HE institutions regarding market-oriented measures aimed at ensuring work integrated learning which can clearly improve graduates’ chances on the labour market.
Danuta Piróg & Adam Hibszer (2021) Do employers really require experience? An analysis of online job adverts and the implications for HE policy, Studies in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2021.2020747