Shifts in the global economy
Shifts in economies throughout the world, prompted by globalization, technological change, increased competition, and the growing sophistication of customers and clients mean that employers are increasingly looking for a set of generic skills to accompany technical skills.
Researchers at the Universities of Nottingham and Exeter (2007) stated that this combination of generic and technical skills is sought as a means of developing a workforce that is able to cope with:
• Increasingly complex work practices
• Greater job flexibility and rotation
• Increased interaction with consumers
• Reduced supervision
• Team working
Why are generic employability skills important?
According to Greatbach and Lewis (2007) generic employability skills are important because the labour market is intensely competitive, and employers in private, public and the third sector are looking for:
1. People who are flexible,
2. People who take initiative and
3. People who have the ability to undertake a variety of tasks in different environments.
Employability skills are not as narrowly prescribed and defined as in the past and generally they are more ‘service oriented’, making information and social skills increasingly important. Therefore, examples include:
- The worldwide trend towards an increase in service sector jobs (e.g. in business, finance and
retail sectors) requires people to have interpersonal skills – staff who are able to
explain things and solve problems in response to client needs.
- Those working in manufacturing are increasingly working in teams, or cells and this style of
working demands more internal communication and an ability to persuade, negotiate
- Craft workers are often working with more complex processes which demand greater
thinking, reasoning and problem-solving skills in order to operate machinery or deal with
- Decentralized supply chain management and systems integration require greater
communication, team leadership, business and commercial awareness from all staff.
The use of standardization of computer-based packages in many insurance, banking and call
centres highlights the significance of communication skills and attitudes such as
confidence, judgement and personal organization.
“At KPMG we seek to recruit the best graduate talent out there – regardless of which university they attended. We will give our staff the specific training they need, but it is very helpful to their careers that they come to us with the right foundation of employability skills. Businesses and universities should work together to provide young people with a proper preparation for the workplace and clear information on career choices."
John Griffith-Jones, Joint Chairman, KPMG Europe
The consequences of this?
Simply put, more and more research suggests that getting a degree, and putting a few letters after your name is just not enough to land you that plum job, or to launch your career.
What you need is a portfolio of employability skills.
Employers like to recruit graduates who have gone the ‘extra mile’, 'joined in', can work both individually and in a team, shown a capacity for leadership, and demonstrated a willingness to take risks by spending time traveling, and experiencing new situations and cultures. The success of individuals in a knowledge-based economy will increasingly depend upon skills, creativity and imagination. While basic literacy, numeracy, technical skills craft skills remain vital, today’s economy and society increasingly demands people with an ability to cope with change and adapt quickly to new environments and people. This is why employability skills are more and more important !!
To aid in building Employability skills the LEADERSHIP ACADEMY SA has created an e-book to help you GET NOTICED!