An Investigation of Skill Gaps in Academic Consulting

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: An Investigation of Skill Gaps in Academic Consulting
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Dani Saghafi, Brunel University London, United Kingdom
Dabir Ahmed, Brunel University London, United Kingdom
Ainurul Rosli, Brunel University London, United Kingdom


Higher education institutions are progressively expected to contribute to economic growth and business optimisation. As such academics are more than ever encouraged to draw on their thought leadership and knowledge to demonstrate positive impact on the wider world. Academic consulting is a key knowledge exchange platform used to collaborate with stakeholders in the public and private sector with an aim of developing ideas and solutions that address challenges faced by organisations. To be successful in academic consulting, academics require competencies beyond their deep subject knowledge. This study seeks to identify skill gaps in academics which if addressed could facilitate consultancy work. We investigate attributes required using thematic analysis of qualitative data. We rely on results drawn from three focus groups comprising early career academics, experienced academic consultants and experienced management consultants respectively. Our results find that it is personal attributes and soft skills such networking and communication skills, time management and risk management that are most sought after for effective business engagements.
Our investigation also deliberates on benefits of academic consulting beyond impact on business practices. We discuss how consulting contributes to academics personal and professional development as well as how it enhances the students’ experience.

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