The Impact of Gender and Academic Degrees on the Performance of Transversal Competencies in Higher Education Students

Gema Santiago Gómez, Oscar García López, Ignacio Diez Vega, Sara Redondo Duarte, Silvia Lavandera Ponce


There is some consensus among academics and employers that transversal competencies are one of the key aspects in training people to adapt to the demands of today's world. Universities make a great effort in the design of training programs, in preparing their teachers in training methodologies and in the evaluation systems to guarantee that their graduates acquire an adequate level of these skills. However, there are few studies that address the impact of gender and academic degrees on the performance of transversal competencies.
This study aims to assess whether gender and degree have any impact on the level of transversal competencies obtained at the end of their higher education studies. To this end, we have evaluated 1,614 final year students from 11 higher education centers using a standardized questionnaire on the competencies of Communication, Leadership, Teamwork, Adaptation to change, Initiative, Problem solving, Decision-making, Planning and Organization. We have carried out a Multivariate Variance Analysis to analyze the effect of gender, degree and the interaction between both factors on the students' competence profile. The results show that men perform better in Leadership, Initiative and Decision-making, whereas women score better in Planning and Teamwork skills. Students of Social Sciences degrees have a poorer performance in the competencies than students of Health Sciences and Technical Education. In Planning, women perform better, regardless of the degree, compared to men.

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Copyright (c) 2022 Gema Santiago Gómez, Oscar García López, Ignacio Diez Vega, Sara Redondo Duarte, Silvia Lavandera Ponce

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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