Recognizing a problem is not a show of weakness, nor is it a lack of faith. Recognizing that there is a problem is sometimes the first and most essential step in resolving it. What I’ve seen first-hand is that most graduates try to hide under the guise of being graduates without jobs rather than identifying their specific issues. I’ve met people who lack employability skills but refuse to acknowledge it as a problem.
How important are employability skills?
The labour market is highly competitive. Hence it is important that every job applicant will be ready to compete. The question is can you compete favourably if given the opportunity?
I don’t believe there will ever be a time when every graduate will have a job waiting for them on a silver platter. Although it is expected that with industrialization, full-scale infrastructure development, and an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, Nigeria’s unemployment rate will fall. Even with the aforementioned provisions, personal development is still required to compete for jobs and positions worthy of a graduate.
The significance of employability skills cannot be overstated. Employers are looking for people who are adaptable, take initiative, and can perform a variety of tasks in a variety of settings. Gone are the days when you were employed and content with your job role. Employers in the 21st century are looking for individuals who are adaptable, and can perform a variety of tasks.
Because of the changing landscape of the workplace, the skills required for the same job role in the last few decades have changed. Employers are looking for graduates with skills that go beyond their course of study. This is why you find engineers as bankers provided they have the required skills and can deliver on the job.
Employability skills are not as narrowly prescribed and defined as in the past, and they are generally more ‘service oriented,’ making communication and social skills more important.
Importance of employability skills from employers’ perspective
Employers consider employability skills to be a necessary trait that every applicant must possess. These skills are highlighted below; understanding the need for these skills is one thing, but getting trained is another. It is common knowledge that these skills are important; most applicants list them as skills they possess because they have realized that employers require them. However, it is more than just seeing them. Employers may examine an applicant for a variety of skills such as communication, problem solving, self-motivation, organization, negotiation skills, and learning skills simply by meeting the applicant.
Applicants must understand that employers are looking for people who can add value. It is no longer a matter of certificate qualification, but rather of value qualification. What value can you add?
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