The emergence of soft skills in agricultural education

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As the possession of soft skills is becoming an essential part of the basic skill set of entrants, it is undoubtedly essential to research and develop these skills. The purpose of this study was to examine how students studying at the largest agricultural university in Hungary perceive their soft skills to be in line with employers’ expectations, i.e. whether demand matches supply, in what qualities students feel strong, what employers expect, how well supply and demand in the agricultural labor market match in terms of soft skills. Furthermore, whether educational institutions are able to develop these qualities in students and what other possibilities there might be to strengthen these qualities. The research results confirmed that the university students in the sample perceive the quality of their soft skills to be influenced by several factors, including age, gender and work experience. They show that women over 40 with work experience tend to have stronger emotional soft skills, while men of the same age who have not started their careers are stronger in leadership skills. The study also concluded that students do not feel that current schooling in institutions can strengthen the soft skills expected by the labor market (the average on a five-point Likert scale was 2.74), while the development of these soft skills was considered by respondents to be as important as the development of hard skills (agreement was very high with an average of 4.52 on a five-point Likert scale).

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    • Figure 1. Possibility of learning soft skills in school education
    • Table 1. Structure of the questionnaire
    • Table 2. Sample specification (Frequency, %)
    • Table 3. Employers’ expectations of skills (mean, standard deviation)
    • Table 4. Relationships between soft skill expectations and their closeness
    • Table 5. Differences in skills by gender, education, and age
    • Table 6. Soft skill compliance factors
    • Table 7. Regression results
    • Conceptualization
      Tímea Juhász, Gabriella Horváth-Csikós
    • Investigation
      Tímea Juhász, Gabriella Horváth-Csikós
    • Methodology
      Tímea Juhász, Gabriella Horváth-Csikós
    • Resources
      Tímea Juhász, Gabriella Horváth-Csikós
    • Writing – original draft
      Tímea Juhász, Gabriella Horváth-Csikós
    • Writing – review & editing
      Tímea Juhász, Gabriella Horváth-Csikós