These participants were chosen for their experience in recruiting and selecting graduates from local universities and also for working with the graduates. The human resources professionals were also chosen because they are informed by line managers in cases were graduates hired fail to deliver value.
The survey comprised of 103 participants representing 103 organisations from different economic sectors. Most of the participants were from the human resources profession (78%) with the remainder coming from other senior managerial professionals such as Finance Director, Engineering Manager and Head of Marketing.
Graduates from state universities were rated higher than other universities. On commercial graduates, University of Zimbabwe tops the rankings followed by NUST and MSU. On sciences/STEM, the National University of Science and Technology tops the rankings followed by UZ and HIT. In the social sciences, UZ tops the rankings followed by MSU and Africa University. On work ethic, NUST tops the list followed by UZ and MSU.
A further analysis of university graduates based on aptitude tests taken through graduate recruitment shows that HIT graduates have higher General Mental Ability tied with NUST with UZ following. In the same analysis we noted that graduates from GZU and BUSE scored the lowest in a test of Verbal Reasoning (Verbal reasoning is the ability to understand and logically work through concepts and problems expressed in words.
Verbal reasoning tests tell employers how well a candidate can extract and work with meaning, information and implications from text. It is all about logic expressed verbally.) This may imply that graduates scoring low on verbal reasoning may find it difficult to express themselves verbally. This is likely to affect the quality of what they produce in writing.
HIT ranks high on the personality dimension “Openness to Experience” People who score low on openness tend to be conventional and traditional in their outlook and behaviour. They prefer familiar routines to new experiences, and generally have a narrower range of interests. Openness has moderate positive relationships with creativity, intelligence and knowledge.
CUT ranks lowest on this dimension. Taking the results of the Employer perceptions on graduates and graduate trainee entry test performance it seems HIT enrols quality graduates followed by NUST and UZ. The results show that Universities need to pay attention to the quality of graduates they are producing to enable the graduates to be absorbed by industry. Employer perceptions matter in recruitment. Universities that ignore these results may end up failing to attract quality students.