Universities have, at present, generally taken on as their own the role of providing comprehensive training that contributes to academic, professional, and social development. As a result, civic and social competences have become increasingly important, given their potential contribution to optimising university students’ transition to the labour market. The objective of this work is to study the psychometric properties of a scale for assessing a range of civic and social competences in higher education and to analyse whether students’ cycle and field of knowledge shape how these competences develop. To this end, after randomly dividing the sample of 996 university students, we performed an exploratory factorial analysis followed by a confirmatory factorial analysis. We then conducted a 2 × 2 Multivariate Analysis of Variance (cycle × field of knowledge), taking as dependent variables the factors obtained previously. In addition to a satisfactory solution of the scale, both in factor structure and in levels of internal consistency, the results reveal differences regarding the study variables. While first-cycle students display a high level of development of these competences, we found no differences regarding field of knowledge. However, significant effects were apparent in the interaction of these two variables, as first-cycle students from Health Sciences and Engineering-Architecture and second-cycle students from Social-Legal Sciences and Arts-Humanities displayed higher scores. This paper concludes by highlighting the need for higher education institutions to promote the development of civic and social competences to a greater extent. To do so, they should consider methodological strategies and programs that react to this need so that levels of social participation and transition to employment can be enhanced.

This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 276 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. Please, cite this article as follows: Santos Rego, M. A., Ferraces Otero, M. J., Mella Núñez, Í., & Vázquez-Rodríguez, A. (2020). Universidad, competencias cívico-sociales y mercado de trabajo | University, civic-social competences, and the labour market. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 78 (276), 213-232. doi: 10.22550/REP78-2-2020-06

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Author Biography

Miguel A. Santos Rego. Professor at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. He is the Coordinator of the ESCULCA research group and the RIES (Immigration, School and Society) network. He is currently Head of the Department of Pedagogy and Didactics at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela and President of the Galician Committee on Reports, Verification, Certification, and Accreditation (CGIACA-ACSUG). His main research interests are intercultural pedagogy, theory of educational processes, and service-learning and higher education.


María José Ferraces Otero. Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Basic Psychology and Methodology of the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. She is a member of the ESCULCA Research Group and the RIES (Immigration, School and Society) network. Her mainresearch interest is research methodology in behavioural science, with a particular focus on educational processes.


Ígor Mella Núñez. Doctor of education from the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. He is a member of the ESCULCA research group, where he is currently a researcher on a project that is part of Spain’s National Plan for Service-Learning and Employability. His main research interests are servicelearning, academic performance, and competence development in higher education.


Ana Vázquez Rodríguez. Graduate in Pedagogy, Master’s degree in Research in Education, Cultural Diversity, and Community Development from the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. She is a member of the ESCULCA research group, in which she did her doctoral thesis on non-formal education and youth employability thanks to a university teacher training (FPU) grant from Spain’s Ministry of Universities.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Esta obra está bajo una licencia internacional Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial 4.0.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



Palabras clave | Keywords

civiccompetence, labourmarket, socialcompetence