Employability Creation

Employability refers to the attributes of a person that make that person able to gain and maintain employment.


Employability is related to work and the ability to be employed, such as:

  • The ability to gain initial employment; hence the interest in ensuring that 'key competencies', careers advice and an understanding about the world of work are embedded in the education system.
  • The ability to maintain employment and make 'transitions' between jobs and roles within the same organization to meet new job requirements, and
  • The ability to obtain new employment if required, i.e. to be independent in the labour market by being willing and able to manage their own employment transitions between and within organisations. (Van der Heijde and Van der Heijden (2005) The continuously fulfilling, acquiring or creating of work through the optimal use of efforts)

Lee Harvey defines employability as the ability of a graduate to get a satisfying job, stating that job acquisition should not be prioritized over preparedness for employment to avoid pseudo measure of individual employability. Lee argues that employability is not a set of skills but a range of experiences and attributes developed through higher-level learning, thus employability is not a "product' but a process of learning.

Employability continues to develop because the graduate, once employed, does not stop learning (i.e. continuous learning). Thus employability by this definition is about learning, not least learning how to learn, and it is about empowering learners as critical reflective citizens definition is important for it emphasizes employability of graduates, which is similar to our context, hence, able to provide insight about how to measure graduates' employability and what are the differences between graduates and experienced individuals in labor market.

Berntson (2008) argues that employability refers to an individual's perception of his or her possibilities of getting new, equal, or better employment. Berntson's study differentiates employability into two main categories – actual employability (objective employability) and perceived employability (subjective employability).

Several employability definitions have been developed based on, or including input from business and industry. In the United States, an Employability Skills Framework was developed through a collaboration of employers, educators, human resources associations, and labour market associations. This framework states, "Employability skills are general skills that are necessary for success in the labor market at all employment levels and in all sectors". After conducting research with employers across Canada, the Conference Board of Canada released Employability Skills 2000+, which defines employability as "the skills you need to enter, stay in, and progress in the world of work". Saunders & Zuzel (2010) found that employers valued personal qualities such as dependability and enthusiasm over subject knowledge and ability to negotiate.

Enhancing youth employability: What? Why? and How? Guide to core work skills

Skills have become increasingly important in the globalized world. Vocational and technical skills are essential, but employers are seeking applicants with more. They want employees who can continue to learn and adapt; read, write and compute competently; listen and communicate effectively; think creatively; solve problems independently; manage themselves at work; interact with co-workers; work in teams or groups; handle basic technology, lead effectively as well as follow supervision. These core skills for employability are both important to employers’ recruitment and enhance an individual’s ability to secure a job, retain employment and move flexibly in the labour market as well as engage in lifelong learning. Employability entails much more than the ability to get that first job. It is having the capacity to network and market oneself, navigate through a career and remain employable throughout life. It requires the ability to ask questions, acquire new skills, identify and evaluate options, understand rights at work including the right to a safe and healthy work environment, adapt successfully to changing situations and the courage to innovate. This paper is designed to guide readers through the key issues in identifying the relevant core skills for employability, understanding their importance and ways these skills can be delivered, attained and recognized. An ILO review of numerous teaching methodologies and training techniques demonstrates that acquiring such skills requires innovative ways of delivering training, so that core skills go hand in hand with technical skills. This guide illustrates various ways of integrating employability skills into core academic content and vocational training, rather than providing a “core skills curriculum”.

What are core skills for employability?

Core employability skills build upon and strengthen those developed through basic education, such as reading and writing, the technical skills needed to perform specific duties, and professional/personal attributes such as honestly, reliability, punctuality, attendance and loyalty. Core work skills are often not certified nor formally recognized. Section 2 provides a review of the numerous lists of skills and abilities developed by countries, agencies and researchers, identifying the core skills that individuals need to be successful in attaining, retaining and advancing in employment. The skills are categorized under four broad headings: learning to learn, communication, teamwork and problem-solving.

SkillsTech has been working with the Employability Creation concept since inception. Being associated with many of the Employability Creation projects in both Govt and Non-Govt organisations, SkillsTech is promoting this technology driven structure.

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