University education and employment in Japan. Students' perceptions on employment attributes and implications for university education

Nguyen Danh Nguyen, Yanagawa Yoshinari, Miyazaki Shigeji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The present research aims to explore students' perceptions of the needs of employers in terms of the personal qualities of higher education graduates. Design/methodology/approach - Questionnaires were delivered to students at four universities in the Chugoku area of Japan. The students were asked to indicate how important they thought each of the personal qualities that would be needed for their future employment, and their own evaluation of their capabilities with respect to each personal quality. In addition, respondents were asked to answer other questions in relation to satisfaction with their courses, job opportunities, and sources of their personal qualities. Findings - The key findings are that job-seeking students tend to have a lower assessment of their own abilities than their perceived importance of those abilities. In particular, students rated their abilities significantly lower in communication and presentation skills. Although they rated themselves highly in terms of optimism, cooperation, and responsibility, they were dissatisfied with their personal traits in terms of taking initiative, having flexibility, and (especially) in demonstrating an entrepreneurial mind. Research limitations/implications - The sample is limited to university students in a limited geographical area of Japan. The generalizability of the results could therefore be questioned. Practical implications - The study represents a useful source of information and impartial advice for undergraduate students planning to find a job, and for higher-education academic staff and administrators managing undergraduate programs. Originality/value - This paper fulfils an identified information and resources need, and offers practical help to reform teaching and career-development processes in Japanese higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-218
Number of pages17
JournalQuality Assurance in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 18 2005


  • Abilities
  • Higher education
  • Japan
  • Perception
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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