Published: December 2018, Vol 62(4)
Employability skills, or transferable skills, are critical in accompanying technical skills and disciplinary knowledge for success in the work force. As the agricultural sector diversifies, with younger generations entering the work force and women taking on more leadership positions, it is imperative to understand the differing priori-ties of employability skills based on gender and prepare today’s students with ways to highlight and use their employability skills. Using the 2011 national survey data collected by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, this study explores the different rank order of seven clusters of soft [employability] skills, each with seven descriptive characteristics. The most important clusters for entry level employment are the fundamentals to a work environment (communication, decision making, self-management) while the least important clusters are of a higher order skill (professionalism, leadership). Ordinal regression and rank order analysis reveal women significantly prioritize the skills connected to transferring of knowledge, professional development, and working with diverse groups of people more so than men. This study aids the agricultural sector in under-standing possible changes in the diversifying profession and the importance of understanding the “big picture” of agricultural employability.