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Mythili Monogaran
Thirunaukarasu Subramaniam


As Malaysia enters the fourth industrial revolution, together with the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, there are many changes that has taken place, mainly affecting the job market. From the perspective of graduate employment, more emphasis has been placed on institutions of higher learning to produce graduate employees who are employable and possess the necessary skills to meet the challenges of the new economy. At present, the focus has shifted on to improving the skill acquisition of graduates at university level. However, there exists a gender difference between how the interns assess themselves and how they are assessed by their employers. The purpose of this research as such was to obtain a self-assessment of skills that male and female interns possessed, to identify how employers assessed the level of skill acquisition of male and female interns and to identify the gaps that emerge between required and acquired skills between male and female interns. Respondents comprised students from an arts and social sciences faculty in a Malaysian public university who had completed their internship and their employers who had conducted training for them. Using a simple random sampling method, the final responses compiled came from 164 interns (44 male and 120 female interns) and 43 employers. Female interns were found to generally over-rate the skills they possessed compared to male interns. From the seven main skills that were assessed, six of the skills had been over-rated. The skill with the highest difference was communication, leadership, and team skills while the skill of information management and lifelong learning had no over-rated subskills. The skills gap analysis carried out using the radar chart to show the difference between employer expectations and interns’ self-assessment revealed that male and female interns had the smallest gap in the skill of information management and lifelong learning while the largest gap was in the skill of problem solving and scientific skills. There was only a small difference between the self-assessment of male and female interns with regards to the skill acquisition. The feedback of the employers however, showed that female interns tend to perform better in the skill of values, attitudes, and professionalism. This finding is further strengthened from the employer’s internship reports. This study also highlighted the subskill within the skills that were lacking by the interns. This study provides insights from a dual perspective analysis by identifying the gaps between actual and expected intern performance based on gender. This information will be a valuable guideline in redesigning university modules so that they will meet the demands of potential employers.


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