Managing Emergent Knowledge: Addressing the Competency Expectations of Biomedical Employers
Keywords:Employers, Graduate students, Biomedical
Biomedical graduate students face an uncertain job market. A significant number of these graduates are sub or un-employed and work in areas not requiring a university degree. For those graduates experiencing this, feeling they have no control over their careers, future sub-employment has become a significant contributor to the rise in mental illness among this cohort (Frank & Hou, 2018). The government of Alberta has begun to communicate expectations that university education and training should be tied to labor market expectations, so this study surveyed and interviewed 92 biomedical hiring managers in western Canada. When asked which non-technical skills they felt graduate degree holders typically are missing, 85 percent of respondents indicated that project management and/or customer engagement were the skills that were lacking in recent graduate students in this field of study. The responses received from these leaders in the Biomedical field who were surveyed suggest that a skills awareness gap is preventing employers from understanding the full value of graduates because these graduates do not articulate the professional skills that they gain in graduate school throughout the hiring process or demonstrate their competencies in the workplace. Accordingly, these shortfalls can be addressed by introducing project management and knowledge translation awareness into curricula. Demand for project management expertise is rising in the biomedical field. Greater awareness and exposure to project management and customer engagement through knowledge translation will help prepare students for the transition into their professional field of work, while also making them more productive in their educational program. Likewise, stakeholder (i.e., customers) interaction such as students presenting their research to stakeholders can promote knowledge translation while introducing students to potential employers earlier in their training.
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