Industry expectations of mechanical engineering graduates. A case study in Chile

Magdalena Walczak, Jacek Uziak, M. Tunde Oladiran, Claudia Cameratti Baeza, Patricia Thibaut Paez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The formal introduction of professional skills to the graduation profile of engineering students has highlighted the importance of non-technical skills in engineering programs. However, there is little agreement among academics as to both the extent of knowledge required in particular skills and what is the right mix of the technical and professional skills. These two issues are reviewed in this paper in terms of graduate attributes from the perspective of employers of mechanical engineering graduates. A survey of Chilean industry revealed a significant discrepancy between the desired and actual graduate profiles with almost all attributes rated as relevant but not used frequently or vice versa. Interestingly, the least discrepancy and the least relevance were found for technical skills with particular reference to the design and conduction of experiments. The apparent importance of professional skills over technical skills is discussed in the context of employers' expectations that are not necessarily aligned with current educational programs. It was concluded that instruction in professional skills should be embedded into the technical courses to promote active, reflective and student-centered learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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