Key Stakeholder Perspectives on the Employability Skills of Business Graduates in Saudi Arabia
: A Qualitative Study.

  • Abdullah Bindawas

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is an ambitious programme designed to convert the country’s oil-based economy into a knowledge-based economy. Human capital is a crucial component of this, and the employability skills of young Saudi business students plays a vital role in achieving the Vision’s objectives. However, many graduates lack the necessary skills required by employers. This study, therefore, was conducted with the aim of developing a deeper understanding of the factors affecting the employability of business students in Saudi Arabia.
The study analysed the perceptions of three major stakeholders – academics, students, and employers – from several Saudi universities. Three theories were adopted, namely institutional theory, experiential learning theory, and situated learning theory. A qualitative method was applied and purposive sampling was used to select thirty-eight of the participants who provided the richest body of information directly related to the phenomenon of employability skills. Face-to-face interviews were carried out and the participant responses thematically analysed in order to identify common themes.
Findings revealed a number of themes to explain the low employability of Saudi business students. Crucial skills for business graduates found lacking in these subjects included communication skills, functional competencies, technology-related skills, interpersonal competencies, and personal attributes. Impeding factors were found to be outdated curricula; lack of collaboration between academia and industry; outdated, theory-heavy teaching methods; lack of practical knowledge and workplace know-how; low faculty–student ratio; poor admission quality; low motivation for student self-development; lack of recognition for the efforts of academics; lack of resources in universities; and the use of Arabic instead of English as the means of instruction. Suggestions for addressing the skills gap included the addition of industry-relevant elective courses, more experiential learning opportunities, and stronger collaboration between academia and the industry.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLissa Monk (Supervisor) & Gizella Marton (Supervisor)

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