Employability is a term that has gained a lot of traction among employers, academics, and other stakeholders. It refers to the skills, experience, and abilities needed to search for work and progress in a career.
Owing to their inability to meet current labor market demands, one of the major challenges for Nigerian graduates has been to get employed. Nigerian graduates have consistently failed to develop the skills necessary for success in the workplace, as well as the skills required to learn and succeed in an ever-changing environment.
I recall one of my professors telling us in class that our Microbiology degrees would never get us anywhere; she recommended that we learn other skills, skills that would help us become employable. We were perplexed as to why a professor of Microbiology would say such a thing. However, several years after graduation, the reality struck me like a ton of bricks. The sad reality is that the teaching method and curriculum have remained unchanged since my professor encouraged us to update our skills. Indeed, they are definitely also using the same study materials that we did in school.
Employability as a measure
Employers often use employability skills as a gauge of a graduate’s marketability.
Hapidah and Sahandri suggested four (4) employability skills that every graduate should possess: academic, connectivity, personality management, and exploration skills. Graduates with these four skills would have no trouble finding jobs.
The Nigerian government is concerned about the issue of unemployment. As a result, a number of initiatives have been developed to keep graduates engaged. From Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s YouWin Program to the current administration’s N-Power, these initiatives have failed to fix the real issues and have only acted as a band-aid to a growing problem.
These programs, in my view, are inadequate and fail to solve the most pressing issues. The participants also lack the requisite skills to succeed. As a result, there are no trickle-down effect.
The oversupply of graduates to the labor market is one of Nigeria’s major challenges; each year, thousands of young people are poured into a stuttering economy. The second major problem is one of skills; graduates are unable to meet the industry’s requirements. When these problems are resolved, the story will be turned around. And I believe that if the government genuinely engages private-sector stakeholders, a solution to the rising unemployment rate can be found.
The need to be competitive
There is need for graduates to become competitive to ensure they survive in the job market. To be competitive, graduates need to equip themselves with various skills. These skills can be an attribute to them and it can determine their marketability.
The following are the skills that favors graduate’s employability:
- Creative and critical thinking
- Leaderships skills
- Problem solving skills
- Communication skills
- Life-long learning skills
- Computer technology skills
- Time management skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Initiative skills
- Emotional intelligence skills
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