With a faster pace of everyday life, employability skills are becoming essential in modern society. The employability essential concepts and skill sets represent universal content. They contribute to outcomes that are valued for individuals and for society; bring benefits in a wide variety of contexts and apply to multiple areas of life; and are of use to all individuals, deemphasizing competencies of use only in a specific trade, occupation or walk of life. In this report, we look deeply into six critical employability skills including communicating skills, management skills, problem solving skills, personal knowledge, work experience and teamwork skills.
Each of these skills was studied and analysed to show its importance. All of these employability skills are held to make a focus on an individual’s ability to gain initial employment, maintain employment, move between roles within the same organisation, obtain new employment if required and ideally secure suitable and sufficiently fulfilling work, in other words- their employability, more important than the simple state of being employed. (Hillage and Pollard, 1998)
Six critical employability skills were identified from sources of newspaper advertisings, TV advertisings and Internet advertisings. Each of these skills was studied according to their content and importance. Resources from Internet sites and books were used to study these skills. JCU’s graduate attributes were also introduced to compare with the employability skills to discuss the matter.
Critical Employability Skills
Six critical employability skills has been identified from a variety of sources, these include communicating skills, management skills, problem solving skills, personal knowledge, work experience and teamwork skills. In real world, different job roles require different employability skills. A table consist different job roles and skills were drawn according to job advertisement from variety of sources. (See Appendices)
2.1 Communication skills
The definition of communication skills is “the ability to use language and express information.”(“Definition of Communication Skills,” n.d.) It is a way that uses the own language and body language to exchange information with others and understand others easily. It includes speaking, listening and writing. Hence, communication skill is a tool to run throughout business areas and it has significant impact on business. Communication skills may represent in many ways, for example, talking face to face with customers and colleagues, answering a phone call, reply E-mails and writing a report. These actions are required to be done in business workplace all day especially for Manager.
As a result for Manager with good communication skills, it will not only increase the efficiency of staff, but also will create a harmonious workplace that makes everyone enjoys working. Communication skills are also critical when dealing with the customers. Good communication skills will lead to successful business, whereas poor communication will be meaningless even there is a good idea in mind. As Lee Iacocca, former president of Chrysler, once said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, they won’t get you anywhere” (Rzadkiewicz, 2009)
2.2 Management skills
“Management is about taking the right decisions at the right time and getting them implemented by the right people.” (Oak, 2011) Three key factors identified in management skills are making the right decision, at the right time and to the right people. It is the ability of a manager to run a business or a team. For instance, a good manager requires excellent analytical and organizational skills in order to make a right decision to acquire the best returns. It is highly associated with problem solving skills. These decisions also need to be made at the right time.
A doctor or a pilot needs to make life saving decisions quickly and at the right time when emergences are encountered. Time management skills are essential for good managers. With good management over stuffs, it can be sure that the decision can be delivered to the right person to process. Successful business consists of good organizational management and correct decision making. Hence, a manager position requires good management skills to help company obtain profit from business. In fact, communication and management are the two essential factors that would determine the success of a business.
2.3 Problem solving skills
Problem solving skill is widely required in today’s employment market. In a business analyst job advertisement(Genesis IT&T, Seek.com.au), the employer requires “a genius at problem solving”. It is highly integrated with decision making in management skills. In commercial and industrial operations, we can easily meet tons of problems. It is very hard to predict every single movement in modern business market. Therefore it is an important skill to obtain while engage problems in work process. We shall always be prepared to encounter problems, so we can find solutions to solve these problems. Problem solving skills can be either solving problems for clients or for superiors.
For example, as a legal advisor you shall solve problems for your clients. This is an example of how problem solving skill directly affects the outcome of work. Good problem solving skills simply means good work. A financial adviser could solve problems for the “superior” which is the boss. His problem solving skills will affect the decision made by his superior, which influence the prefermence of the whole firm. Problem solving skills is not only about solving the problem, but also doing it efficiently. It does require not only a good knowledge over relevant matter but also good time management skills.
2.4 Personal knowledge
Problem solving often requires very broad knowledge. Personal knowledge is another major skills in work place. The definition of knowledge in professional field is “familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch of learning”(Dictionary.reference.com). Knowledge is like the foundation of employability, the major resource of knowledge is from school and college study. Knowledge is the ability to understand the truth of a certain object. With knowledge, people can get a clear vision of what their roles are in the team, and the way to do their own job and cooperate with their colleagues. Like the job advertisement for architect(Bespoke, Seek.com.au), the employer need someone with landscape knowledge to take this job. Knowledge can be variables of forms and almost every occupation requires certain knowledge, engineer, pilot, truck driver or carpenter.
The way to gain knowledge is through study, no matter from school studying or self-studying. From “The ability to understand and follow instructions as well as learn, maintain and apply skills and knowledge are all very important aspects of work”(Australian Govt, 2010), we can conclude that applying knowledge is the core of doing a job. And the knowledge you own determines your employability. Without knowledge, no one can even get a single job done because you will not understand the job goal and do not know the procedures to do the job. Such as a miner, who will need to have the knowledge of different kinds of ores, also he will need to own the knowledge to operate mining machines to gain efficiency.
2.5 Work experience
Work experience can be seen as a form of knowledge, it is also an important employability skill required by both employers and employees in business organizations. The definition of work experience is a period of time working in business and has some knowledge or skills of the world of work. (What is work experience, n.d.) It is important because employers are looking for some candidates who have the knowledge over the working environment. Work experience also covers other different kinds of skills like team working, communication skills and problem-solving skills.
A candidate who has work experience may find it easier than the other candidates to get a dream job because they had faced some of the events in job in other workplace before. More work experience will show more calm and confidence in handing things. Moreover, candidates with full knowledge and skills is choosing the dream work by own rather than being chose by employers.
2.6 Teamwork Skills
Teamwork is a term that means a group of people, but each one do the individual part to perform a joint action and in order to achieve the same goal. (Teamwork in classroom, n.d.) Teamwork is one of the most important relationships in workplace. The best team number of a determine goal team is 6 ~ 10 people. The working steps are one team leader dividing the big job into different part of small work, each member choose one interested and suitable part to finish. After that, collect all the information from every member and compose to a final work to achieve the goal.
Working in a team is more effective than working individually because different people possess different ideas and opinions, the information collected and researched will be more diversified. Teamwork is often required in large business organizations, it could express the character of team members and how they cooperate to produce the work instead of working individually. Modern corporations require job to be done more efficiently and effectively, this makes teams a great role to attempt big assignments, which makes teamwork skills essential.
2.7 Compare with JCU attributes
By comparing the employability skills with the JCU attributes, we could possibly find a certain level of similarity between them. The definitions of two of the main characteristics of graduate skills such as literacy, self-reliance and interpersonal understand are equivalent to the meanings of employability skills.
The definition of teamwork is not only similar to self-reliance and interpersonal understanding, but also connects with it. They are same as leading, managing and contributing effectively to team and working with another people in a group. However, the employability skill of work experience seems different with the JCU’s graduate attribute. Actually, work experience covers a large number of skills, such as information literacy, interpersonal understanding, critical thinking and problem solving. Work experience will display all knowledge and skills what a candidate has had before.
In this report, we have discussed six critical employability skills. We can see that these skills are highly integrated and associated with each other. One skill may often require other skills to achieve better result. These skills determine how good a person can perform not only at work but also in everyday life. In order to achieve a good job or even a good career, one shall try to gain these skills. By comparing these skills to JCU graduate attributes, we can easily see many similarities between these two. These skills are more comprehensive and necessary for student facing the real world. It can be seen as a general criterion for job candidates.
Australian Government, 8 September, 2010, Learning and Applying Knowledge, viewed in 18 May 2012, from http://jobaccess.gov.au/ADVICE/JOBREQUIREMENT/Pages/Learning_and_applying_kno.aspx Bespoke, 21 May 2012, All rounder Project Architect with Landscape knowledge, viewd 21 May2012 from http://www.seek.com.au/Job/great-opportunity-for-architect-with-landscape-knowledge/in/sydney-cbd-inner-west-eastern-suburbs/22340206 Definition Of Communication Skills. (n.d.). COMMUNICATION SKILLS, Retrieved 28 April, 2012 from http://www.communicationskills.co.in/definition-of-communication-skills.html Dictionary.reference.com, the Definition of Knowledge, viewed in 19 May 2012, from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/knowledge Genesis IT&T
P/L, 18 May 2012, Business Analyst-Problem solving expert, Seek.com.au.What is work experience (n.d.) Business Link, Retrieved 22 May 2012, form http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1096811532&type=RESOURCES Hillage, J. and Pollard, E., 1998, Employability: Developing a framework for policy analysis, Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) Research report. no RR85 (London, DfEE), Accessed May 22, 2012 from http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/pubs/summary.php?id=emplblty Oak, M. (2011). Basic Business Management Skills, Retrieved 30 April 2012 from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/basic-business-management-skills.html Rzadkiewicz, C. (2009). Business Communication Skills, Retrieved 28 April 2012 from http://carol-rzadkiewicz.suite101.com/business-communication-skills-a158048 Teamwork in classroom (n.d.) NDT Resource Centre, Retrieved May 22, 2012, from http://www.ndt-ed.org/TeachingResources/ClassroomTips/Teamwork.html