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Employability and skills

January 29, 2020

What is it that leads to employability?

There has been rapid growth in the need of highly skilled graduates and because of the rapid change in the complexity of the labour market the ability of universities has been questioned (Andrews & Higson 2008, 411). The change in labour market has brought forward the question that what is required for a worker to be employable. In this article we have cut it down to three main questions, from which we will answer the main issue.


What is the labour market looking for? 

Labour markets well being for employment is direct effect of consumer spending. The more customers use utilities the more companies will have opportunities to find new workers. However, businesses are leaning down and getting rid of jobs that are unnecessary, because of this individual employability is evermore in importance. (Pologeorgis 2019.)


Finding a job depends on the level of the job requirement and your personal ability to meet those requirements. For graduate’s workforce will be looking for different types of abilities since obviously they don’t have experience yet. According to Targetjobs top three skills that are required from graduates are commercial awareness, in which the graduate is expected to know the industry and how the business works. Second is communication, this is essential across industries and it consists written and spoken communication. Lastly comes teamwork, which include the ability manage, delegate and respond in a team player manner.


Regardless of the level of individual expertise skills that labour markets are looking for can be divided in to two categories, soft- and hard skills. Soft skills are the ones that can’t be automated and are difficult to prove by a certificate. Hard skills on the other hand are required skills that can be demonstrated on the spot. Some examples of the top soft- and hard skills mentioned by Debczak 2019:


Soft skills:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Time management

Hard skills:

  1. Cloud computing
  2. Artificial intelligence
  3. Analytical reasoning
  4. People management
  5. Mobile application development


In an analysis of 142 countries the founding of labor market employability considering gender equality was found to be unfavorable for women, especially in developing countries. Whether a woman has a spouse or children would affect, the possibility in finding a job. Women who come from poor backgrounds are also more likely to accept unreasonable work regulations. Limited access to safe transportation and religion was found to affect negatively in the employment of women as well. (Tobin 2017.)


Does school prepare you for the labour market? And how?

It appears that depending on the industry and field of your studies, it differs whether or not students feel prepared for work. According to aspire 2018, nursing students felt good about their ability to start, while urban planning students didn’t. The issue of readiness for work has been laid down to be solved by the universities, but in Sydney university it is brought up that having the ability to recognize, say and communicate your strengths are essential. Employer doesn’t know what abilities you have if you’re not able to communicate them properly. (Sydney university.)

Digitalization is thinning out the need for much of the roles in different industries. This has left universities teaching diplomas that are not required anymore. More and more universities are starting to lean towards training students to a more complex set of graduate attributes. What is agreed upon is that giving students the knowledge is not enough, the areas that universities must improve in are: communication skills, critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, application of knowledge and skills in real-world settings, complex problem solving and analysis, ethical decision making and teamwork and digital literacy. These areas of improvement require a change in the way of teaching, schools have been scrutinized to be old in their ways of teaching. (Teachnology.) Eric Duffy 2017 summarizes it by arguing that colleges teach you to think, they do not prepare you for work.


How does one build and maintain motivation to improve onself?

Motivation has been widely used phrase, but what does it mean and how does it affect employability? Best type of motivation is self-motivation, when you have the drive to achieve your personal goals, even in the face of failure. Self-motivation is linked to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions. Hence the first step to achieve self-motivation is to understand yourself. To emphasize on self-motivation, it is something that pushes you from within. If your goals and motivation comes from outside like receiving an award, its most like not self-motivation. (Ackerman 2018.)

Psychologist Scott Geller mentions three questions to assist in understanding whether or not your self-motivated and they are: Can you do it? Will it work? Is it worth it? These questions will determine if your willing to take the consequences. Every goal needs sacrifices and accepting the consequences is not enough. You sincerely need to understand and accept them as well. This will prove to be highly important in work life since you will not be winning all the time, so bouncing back from failure is pivotal. Self- motivation helps to work better generally, which in return will increase the feeling of success. This is a cycle that can be developed through training like meditation and yoga. (Ackerman 2018.)





Ackerman C. 2018. Self-Motivation Explained + 100 Ways To Motivate Yourself. Positive Psychology. URL:               Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Andrews J. & Higson H. 2008. Graduate Employability, ‘Soft Skills’ Versus ‘Hard’

Business Knowledge: A European Study 33:4, 411. URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Debczak M. 2019. The 30 Most In-Demand Job Skills Employers are Looking For in 2019. Mentall floss. URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Duffy E. 2017. Does College Prepare Students For The Real World? Forbes. URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Nicolas Pologeorgis 2019. Employability, the Labor Force, and the Economy. Investopedia. URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Sydney university non dated. Employability skills. URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Targetjobs nd. What are the top 10 skills that will get you a job when you graduate? URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Teachnology non dated. Are Higher Education Institutions Preparing Students For The Real World? URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.


Tobin S. 2017. What causes gender gaps in the labour market? International Labour Organization. URL: Accessed: 10.09.2019.

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