Identification of non-technical competency gaps of engineering graduates in Chile

Richard Leboeuf*, Matías Pizarro, Ricardo Espinoza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A study was performed to identify the non-technical competencies needed by engineering graduates in Chile. A list of abilities and knowledge attributes were derived from similar studies and the expectations expressed by professional organizations. Input was received from managers of 75 different companies across a broad range of industries and sizes and 116 engineering graduates regarding the importance and preparation for 57 abilities and knowledge attributes in 10 categories. Each competency was given a priority based on one of three criteria: 50% or more of managers reporting it to be of the highest level of importance, an average rating greater than a cutoff, and a weighted measure of priority incorporating the importance and gap between graduate preparation and needs. The results suggest that, to managers in Chile, the most important non-technical competencies are in the areas of project control, ethics, communications, teamwork, innovation and budgeting. The competencies identified as important were similar to those seen in studies in other countries, but with a greater emphasis on ethics and innovation and less emphasis on quality and customer focus. Amethod for prioritizing the important competencies was also presented. Many initiatives were proposed to improve specific non-technical competencies that graduates need for competing in the Chilean job market. This paper presents the methodology, the findings, the comparisons with results from similar studies in other countries, and the strategies developed as a result of the findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-438
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Engineering education
  • Management
  • Non-technical competencies
  • Soft skills


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