Key Competences in Economics and Business Field: The Employers’ Side of the Story
Authors: Bruno Škrinjarić
Rapid technological developments and increase in organizations’ interdependence on international scale are changing the traditional workplace paradigm. A key feature of knowledge based economy is that employers are looking for individuals that possess both specific academic skills and knowledge, and also capability to be proactive and respond to problems creatively and autonomously. The focus of this paper is workers with Economics and Business background and its goals are threefold: (1) to explore wide range of competences and identify which are the most important to employers; (2) to investigate the existence and magnitude of gap between required and possessed level of a certain competency; and (3) to inquire how this gap is connected with performance of a company. A study was conducted on a representative sample of Croatian enterprises during the spring of 2016. Results show that generic, rather than specific, competences are more important to employers and the gap between the relative importance of certain competence and its current representation in existing workforce is greater for generic competences than for specific. Finally, results do not support the hypothesis that this gap is correlated with firms’ performance.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1126958Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 923
 B. R. Agle, R. K. Mitchell and J. A. Sonnenfeld, “Who matters to CEOs? An investigation of stakeholder attributes and salience, corporate Performance, and CEO values,” Academy of Management Journal, vol. 42, no. 5, pp. 507-525, 1999.
 Y. H. Ahn, A. R. Pearce and H. Kwon, “Key competencies for U.S. construction graduates: industry perspective,” Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, vol. 138, no. 2, pp. 123-130, 2012.
 K. J. Arrow, “The economic implications of learning by doing,” Review of Economic Studies, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 155-173, 1962.
 D. Autor, J. Levy and R. Murnane, “The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 118, no. 4, pp. 1379-1333, 2003.
 A. Bartel, R. Freeman, C. Ichniowski and M. M. Kleiner, “Can a work organization have an attitude problem? The impact of workplaces on employee attitude and economic outcomes,” NBER Working Paper No. 9987, 2003.
 M. Barth, J. Godemann, M. Rieckmann and U. Stoltenberg, “Developing key competencies for sustainable development in higher education,” International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 416-430, 2007.
 R. G. Biesma, M. Pavlova, G. G. van Merode and W. Groot, “Using conjoint analysis to estimate employers preferences for key competencies of master level Dutch graduates entering the public health field,” Economics of Education Review, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 375-386, 2007.
 R. G. Biesma, M. Pavlova, R. Vaatstra, G. G. van Merode, G. G. Czabanowska, T. Smith and W. Groot, “Generic versus specific competencies of entry-level public health graduates: employer’s perception in Poland, the UK, and the Netherlands,” Advances in Health Sciences Education, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 325-343, 2008.
 T. Bresnahan, E. Brynjolfsson and L. Hitt, “Information technology, workplace organization and the demand for skilled labor: firm level evidence,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 117, no. 1, pp. 339-378, 2002.
 B. G. Chung-herrera, C. A. Enz and M. J. Lankau, “Grooming future hospitality leaders: a competencies model,” Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 17-25, 2003.
 W. Cohen and D. Levinthal, “Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation,” Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 128-152, 1990.
 M. G. Colombo, M. Delmastro and L. Rabbiosi, “High performance work practices, decentralization, and profitability: evidence from panel data,” Industrial and Corporate Change, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 1037-1067, 2007.
 C. R. Dreyfus, “Identifying competencies that predict effectiveness of R&D managers,” Journal of Management Development, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 76-91, 2008.
 S. Fallows and C. Steven, “Embedding a skills program for all students,” in Integrating key skills in higher education, London, 2000, pp. 17-31.
 D. Finegold and A. S. Notabartolo, 21st century competencies and their impact: an interdisciplinary literature review. Washington: Board on Training and Assessment, 2010.
 J. Forth and G. Mason, Do ICT skills shortages hamper firms’ performance? Evidence from Uk benchmarking surveys. London: National Institute of Economic and Social Research, 2006.
 J. J. Heckman, “Policies to foster human capital,” Research in Economics, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 3-56, 2000.
 J. J. Heckman and T. Kautz, “Hard evidence on soft skills,” Labour Economics, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 451-464, 2012.
 M. H. M. Jamshidi, A. Rasli and R. Yusof, “A research design to predict HR managers and professionals’ competencies of universities,” Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, vol. 2, no. 6, pp. 5694-5702, 2012.
 E. Kelly, P. O’Connell and E. Smyth, “The economic returns to field of study and competencies among higher education graduates in Ireland,” Economics of Education Review, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 650-657, 2010.
 K. Laursen, N. J. Foss, “New human resource management practices, complementarities and the impact on innovation performance,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 243-264, 2003.
 R. Leoni, “Workplace design, complementarities among work practices, and the formation of key competencies: evidence from Italian employees,” ILR Review, vol. 65, no. 2, pp. 316-349, 2012.
 B.-A- Lundvall, “Innovation as an interactive process: user-producer relations,” in G. Dosi, C. Freeman, R. R. Nelson, G. Silverberg and L. L. Soete (Eds.), Technical Change and Economic Theory, London: Pinter, pp. 349-369, 1988
 K. Mahmood, “A comparison between needed competencies of academic librarians and LIS curricula in Pakistan,” The Electronic Library, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 99-109, 2003.
 S. U. Rehman, S. Majid and A. B. A. Baker, “Competencies for future library professionals of academic libraries in Malaysia,” Library Review, vol. 46, no. 6, pp. 381-393, 1997.
 M. Rieckmann, “Future-oriented higher education: which key competencies should be fostered through university teaching and learning?,” Futures, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 127-135, 2012.
 N. Rosenberg, “Learning by using,” in N. Rosenberg (Eds.), Inside the black box: technology and economics, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, pp. 120-140, 1982
 D. S. Rychen, “Key competencies: meeting important challenges in life,” in D. S. Rychen and L. H. Salganik (Eds.), Key competencies for a successful life and well-functioning society, Rohnswer: Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, pp. 103-139, 2003
 J. Semeijn, C. Boone, R. van der Valden and A. van Witteloostuijn, “Graduates’ personality characteristics and labor market entry: an empirical study among Dutch economic graduates,” Economics of Education Review, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 67-83, 2005.
 J. Shury, M. Winterbotham, B. Davies, K. Oldfield, M. Spilsbury and S. Sonstable, National employer skills survey for England 2009: main report: evidence report 23. IFF Research and UK Commission for Employment and Skills, 2010.
 L. M. Spencer and S. M. Spencer, Competence at work: models for superior performance. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1993.
 C. Spicer, “Building and competency model. Screening job candidates for desired competencies pays off in higher sales and lower turnover,” HR Magazine, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 1-3, 2009.
 P. A. Stevens, Skill shortages and firms’ employment behaviour. London: National Institute of Social and Economic Research, 2004.
 D. Ulrich, W. Brockbank, D. Johnson, K. Sandholtz and J. Younger, HR competencies: mastery at the intersection of people and business. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2008.
 A. Zehrer and C. Mossenlechner, “Key competencies of tourism graduates: the employer’s point of view,” Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, vol. 9, no. 3-4, pp. 266-287, 2009.
 M. Iootty, P. Correa, S. Radas and B. Škrinjarić, “Stylized facts on productivity growth. Evidence from firm-level data in Croatia,” Policy Research Working Paper 6990, 2014.
 F. W. Taylor, The principles of scientific management. Harper, 1914.