Skills and employability requirements of today

8 August 2016

Today’s workplace demands that entry-level workers be able to operate independently, using problem-solving and decision-making skills. The need for worker collaboration and teamwork requires employees to be creative, flexible, and possess good interpersonal and managerial skills. The reference to interpersonal skills points to yet another reason for the changes in the employability skill needs of today’s workplace: the increasingly multicultural nature of the workforce.

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Corporations have also changed colors. Good interpersonal skills will be more in demand the more multicultural the workforce becomes. A final reason for the increased interest in equipping young people with basic, higher-order, and affective skills is the growing awareness of what happens when great numbers of people lack these qualifications. Employability skills are the attitudes and behaviours of employees (other than technical competence), that employers see as valuable in the actual work place.

These employability skills include reading, basic arithmetic and other basic skills like problem solving, decision making, and other higher-order thinking skills as well as dependability, a positive attitude, cooperativeness, and other human skills that make an employer a contributor to the company and not like an rotten egg in a corner when clients come. Employability Skills are not job specific. They are skills which cut horizontally across all employment sectors and vertically across all jobs from entry level to chief executive officer.

Although the critical employability skills identified by employers vary considerably in the way they are organized, there is a great deal of agreement among the skills and traits identified. The concept of Employability has recently gained recognition in the corporate world. Employability is the ability of an individual to be employed. It is an individual’s capability to get employment not only because he has a degree also because he possesses skills and competencies and carries an attitude which is required to work with integrity and commitment.

Employability skills, as they are known, are the basic skills which are necessary for doing a job well. These skills enable a worker to take initiatives, adopt a problem solving approach, make sound and critical decisions and contribute to the organizational growth. In contrast to technical skills which are job specific, employability skills are generic in nature. Employers value these skills over and above the job specific skills. It is understood that Communication Skills is a problem area.

Therefore it did not come as too much of a surprise to find that as far as Communication Skills of the students in most of the colleges are considered, 80% of them do not meet the qualifying criteria. However, it is quite ironical that most of out of the 20% who are fine as far as communication skills are concerned, do not actually end up getting hired because of either lack of problem solving skills or technical skills. Proficiency in communication skills is considered more of a ‘qualifying criteria’ than selection criteria for technical roles in the industry.

The study also showed that if communication skills are not considered for qualification / selection, the percentage of employable students will raise from 7 to 13%. Emerging work place described above demands a set of new generic skills for maintaining employability. In addition to job-specific technical competencies, there is a requirement of a set of generic skills, which are generic to a cluster of occupations in order to perform competently as knowledge worker. Generic skills are required by all workers.

However, the extent by which these skills need to be possessed varies from one occupational grouping to another. These skills are independent of sector, underpin technical skills, draw on personal attributes and once combined with job-specific skills, can optimize individual’s productivity. Specific occupational skills are augmented to growing cognitive skills. These skills are essential for effective participation in the emerging patterns of work and work organizations.

In this paper, various list of skills for emerging knowledge economy and the basic requirement for the today’s organisation. Problem Statements: The research suggests that most employers find it difficult to recruit suitable number of graduates who can communicate while working in a team, analyse problem or manage their individual learning of new skills. One of the most direct causes to this problem is the scarcity of quality graduates in the labour market, the graduates are accused for not being able to suit the graduates’ labour market needs.

Employers recognize the number of technical skills possessed by graduates but not that of the non-technical skills (some call it employability skills) as the employers realize that non-technical skills are not strongly embraced by graduates. Ultimately, most of employers are looking for people who are proactive rather than reactive and want graduates who can use higher level skills such as analysis, critique, synthesis and multi layered communication to facilitate innovative teamwork in catalyzing the transformation of their organisation.

While 90 per cent of the industries want candidates with some level of skill, nine per cent want some knowledge. Only one per cent wants both skill and knowledge. Rationale of the study In fact, business and industry representatives in both developed and developing countries have expressed considerable dissatisfaction with the general level of preparedness of entry-level employees. Interviews with job applicants support this finding. More than half of the graduates leave school without the knowledge or foundation required to find and hold a good job.

This does not refer to technical or specific jobs skills but to employability skills such as attitudes, self discipline and a commitment to learning. Employers complain that new hires usually have: (i) unclear direction and goals with very little understanding of their career path; (ii) low self confidence and poor motivation; (iii) low level of academic accomplishment with very inadequate basic skills; (iv) lack of drive and enthusiasm for the work; (v) undeveloped leadership potential; (vi) inadequate preparation for work; (vii) unrealistic salary and benefits expectations.

While most employers expect to train new employees in company-specific procedures and to acquaint them with the behavioural norms, standards, and expectations in their company (the Brand) as well as job-specific technical skills required, they are very clear that the schools and family should take most of the responsibility for equipping young people with general employability skills. Review of literature If things progress as they are, India is certain to face a ‘talent gap’- the lack of right skills for the job required – of more than 5 million by 2012, as existing educational institutions do not impart employable skills.

If training has to deliver job-level skills in an increasingly globalised world, strong industry leadership and engagement with skills training, qualification and assessment framework is essential. India has a huge brand name internationally in supplying skilled manpower. According to one estimate, at any point of time, around five million Indians work abroad. With its demographic advantage and the large pool of English speaking people, India can well provide the solution to the world’s skills shortage problem. But, what is needed is a holistic approach to address the problem of skills shortage within the country.

A recent report published by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has estimated that India would face ‘talent gap’- the lack of right skills for the job required – of more than 5 million by 2012, as existing educational institutions do not impart employable skills. The report titled, ‘India’s Demographic Dilemma’ brings out the fact the $1. 1-trillion economy will have a shortfall of 750,000 skilled workers over the next five years. On the other side, there will be a surplus of 1. 3 million unskilled and unqualified school dropouts and illiterates.

It is rightly said that unemployment among educated youth may be caused by a variety of factors. It might be that the economic – more specifically the job market – conditions are such that enough jobs are not created to absorb all the educated manpower. This may happen under recession, slow-down or even under job-less growth. Alternatively, the number of educated unemployed may rise due to a mismatch between knowledge and skills that are imparted by the educational institutions on the one hand and what is required by industry on the other.

It is this second situation that puts the blame squarely on the education sector and that is, in fact, the phase through which we are passing in contemporary times. We are loaded with a situation where industry is lamenting skill shortage and at the same time we have educated youth complaining of non-availability of jobs. The National Skill Development Policy, approved by the Cabinet, under the National Skills Development Mission aims at empowering all individuals through improved skills, knowledge and internationally recognised qualifications to enable them access to decent employment and to promote inclusive national growth.

Apart from upgrading the existing government ITIs, the government has also launched the Skill Development Initiative Scheme to train one million people in the next five years and then one million every year. Training will be provided in demand-driven, short-term courses, based on modular employable skills and the cost will be borne by the Central Government. Research Objectives 1. To identify the skills that are claimed to be essential for employment by employers. 2. To identify the important employability skills perceived by students.

Dealing with the complaints arising from employees highlighting the lack of employability skills among graduates, there is a need to find out what are the skills that are actually required. 3. To identify the employers lagging in basic skills like that of analytical skills and communication skills which is the basic requirement to exist in a workplace. Skills that employers value most in a prospective employee The employability skills include reading and writing skills, knowledge of basic arithmetic, oral as well as written communication skills, logical reasoning, problem solving and decision making.

These skills make an employee an asset to the organization. Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has developed a framework for employability skills. These key skills are identified in combination with the personal attributes to make up a best prospect. They include: Communication skills that contribute to productive and harmonious relations between employees and customers. Team work skills that contribute to productive working relationships and outcomes. Problem-solving skills that contribute to productive outcomes. Initiative and enterprise skills that contribute to innovative outcomes.

Planning and organizing skills that contributes to long-term and short-term strategic planning. Self-management skills that contribute to employee satisfaction and growth. Learning skills that contribute to ongoing improvement and expansion in employee and company operations and outcomes. Technology skills that contribute to effective execution of tasks. These skills are sometimes classified into basic, higher order thinking and affective skill categories. Findings Skills development is major initiative that tries to reach out to those people who need the most.

All they need is to get some skills so that they stand on their own feet. They are willing to work and improve their life through their own efforts, but they need that little help of giving them some skills with which they can carve their own destiny. Conclusion If basic skills and employability exist in today’s employees, then: 1. Industry-academic collaboration It could act as industry-academic collaboration platform for employability enhancement of the students and exposing students’ strength to employers which will help right students get right jobs.

It will provide industry-driven employability skills training comprising classroom sessions, e-learning, self-assessment, internship and project opportunities. It will also extend employability skills assessment and certification, placement aggregation services for enterprises and institutions, placement management and campus recruitment management. 2. Lesser time to hire It would take lesser time to hire, reduce cost for learning and development activities, reduce time to bill for the campus hire and identify suitable students for internship positions and project requirements.

Versatility For small units, “versatility is the key aspect” and “basic knowledge of the particular industry is a must. ” The report from CII states that during 2011, the initiative for employability is expected to benefit around 2,000 students from 15 colleges and also 50 companies. While 100 hours of training will be prescribed, 40 hours would be for domain skills and 60 for soft skills training which includes business communication, placement preparation, etc. The current curriculum for domain skills will focus on IT, manufacturing and e-publishing industry.

As employability skills have become important in modern workplaces as one of the greatest concerns of an organization is to fill the gaps in skills required on the job and those possessed by applicants. Employers today are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree. They particularly value skills such as communication, team working and problem solving. Job applicants who can demonstrate these skills have a real advantage. The Initiatives Taken So Far In the plight of increasing unemployment, both employers and government have come forward to take initiatives for increasing employability among labor force.

The very first step towards the same took place when “The School of Employability” formally run by the Reliance division NIS Sparta, was launched in Chennai in 2006. Such training schools have enhanced the employability of fresh graduates by equipping them with the necessary skills. Apart from this, NASSCOM has launched various Assessment and Certification Programs and Pilot Programs which ensure the transformation of labor force into an employable workforce. Moreover, it had also organized a one day event on “Employability for the Disabled” early this year.

This event focused on assessing the employability needs of disabled and providing new opportunities to them. Companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are taking pre and post employment initiatives for enhancing employability. The “On-Campus Initiatives” of TCS focus on curriculum development and faculty development programs, enhancing students’ language skills, providing experience through internships and projects. On the other hand “Post-employment Initiatives” include providing initial training (technology, process and soft skills) during induction, ongoing training throughout employee’s career and employee’s career development plan.

TCS also offers an ‘InsighT programme’ to school students, which focuses on IT and soft skills. The programme is aimed at providing an overview of the skills required in the IT industry. Many such initiatives are being taken by other organizations. Keeping in view the importance of employability of labor force, it’s now time to ensure quality education and focus on honing the employability skills right from the school. There is a huge gap in the availability of employable skill and how to bridge this gap still remains a question.

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