Announcement:  Employer Requirements by Academic Program

February 14, 2018

Every year, Gray helps dozens of colleges decide which programs to Start, Stop, Sustain or Grow.  Once these decisions are made, the school must decide what to teach in each program and in the general education courses that support more specialized fields.  To address this need, Gray has added data on employer requirements to our Program Evaluation System.  The following outlines the content of the employer requirements data and shares an example for one popular program, Accounting.

Using advanced AI and machine learning techniques, our data supplier, SkillsEngine, translates unstructured text from resumes and job postings into nine categories of employer requirements, which are described below:

  • Abilities:  An attribute of an individual that can influence performance on the job
  • General Work Activities:  Categories of work that consume major units of time on the job
  • Intermediate Work Activities:  Groups of work activities that consume major units of time on the job
  • Detailed Work Activities:  Specific activities that consume major units of time on the job
  • Knowledges:  Principles, bodies of content, and facts generally applied within academic domains.
  • Occupations:  O*NET Standard Occupation Codes, titles, and relevancy scores
  • Skills:  A developed capacity, such as time management or information gathering
  • Tools:  Equipment or software associated with a skill
  • Workplace Essentials:  Behaviors and characteristics that demonstrate strengths in such areas as teamwork, attention to detail, and communication

Let’s take a look at this data for Accounting programs.  One might expect that the primary skills in this profession would be quantitative analysis, accounting systems, and accounting guidelines.  The data suggests that Management of Financial Resources and Mathematics are very important, with correlations of 66.49% and 51.72%, respectively.  But, Critical Thinking is most important and Speaking, Reading Comprehension, and other “soft skills” dominate the list.

SkillsEngine Result

Work Activities

In contrast to the relatively high-level skills data, Work Activities are highly detailed, often listing dozens or hundreds of activities.  For Accounting, the data includes over 95 Detailed Work Activities.  The top 15 are shown below.

Accounting Detailed Work Activities

Workplace Tools

The workplace activities listed above are consistent with what one might commonly expect from the Accounting profession.  The accounting tools include tools very specific to the profession, such as Fund Accounting Software, or Oracle E-Business Suite Financials.  There are also tools common to many other fields, such as the Microsoft Office suite and Desktop computers.  It is somewhat amusing that 10-key calculators, the dinosaurs of computation, still have a prominent role in Accounting.

Accounting Tools

Applications of Data on Employer Requirements

This summary showcases a handful of the employer requirements in Gray’s Program Evaluation System.  The employer requirements will help institutions design programs and curricula that better enable students to get and keep jobs.    

About Gray Associates

Gray Associates, Inc. is a higher education consulting firm.  We help clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies to maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.  Gray uses proprietary analytical techniques and an industry-leading database combining information on inquiry volumes, demographics, competition, and employment, to help faculty and school leadership develop institutional strategies, select programs, pick locations, and prepare curricula.

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Gray Associates, Inc. provides the best available data, software, and facilitated processes to help higher education institutions make high-stakes decisions regarding academic programs, pricing, and locations.

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Gray Associates, Inc. is a software and services firm focused on higher education. We help education clients develop fact-based institutional and marketing strategies that maximize outcomes for students, the school, and its constituencies.

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