Skills for Today's Changing Workplace
Skills for Today's Job Market
Think you've got the skills for today's workplace? Computer ready...a new degree...accounting skills...ready to engineer the world's biggest bridge? Well, think again. There are thousands of new Grads each year with the same tech skills. What will set you apart?
Recent surveys conducted in a wide range of developing and well developed countries underline the primary concern of more than 80 percent of employers: finding workers with good work ethics and appropriate social behaviours.
What does "appropriate" mean? A good attitude, decent appearance, a team orientation and a bit of a perky personality. Skills is just one part of the package and for many employers, not even number 1!
What skills are expected of these new graduates?
Today's Constantly Reinventing Workplaces
Today's workplaces are varied as there are interests. They keep changing and their skills demands keep reinventing as well. When before jobs with low skills make you middle class in Western societies, now many jobs are done by robots. the low skilled jobs hardly pay at all as many temps take it. The good paying jobs often require advanced skills. Many of these jobs are taken by consultants. employees seem to be the odd word now in the business world. Welcome to the Uber Economy. Young grads now have gigs, 2 or 5 of these at the same time, and to the consternation of their parents who are used to regular permanent jobs, they seem to fit in happily.
When you have advanced skills, you will even be more in demand because most companies now are happy to have temps for jobs that are specialized and focused. Our on demand corporations rely on freelance consultants for many advanced skills.
Understanding this new work place well is quite a challenge. I just recently read that with ever growing data, the demand for data analysis will definitely increase. Content managers seem to be a position many advertise for now. Hone your skills in these new job demands and don't stop until you get in the other half of the income divide. Remember, it keeps recreating itself. Recreate yourself, too.
How do you assess your skills for today's workplace? - Do you have the skills for it?
On a scale of 1-5, one the lowest and 5 the highest, how would you rate your skills for today's workplace?
Top Skills the New Workplace Look For
Business and industry representatives in both developed and developing countries have expressed considerable dissatisfaction with the general level of preparedness of entry-level employees.
Interviews with job applicants support this finding. More than half of the graduates leave school without the knowledge or foundation required to find and hold a good job. This does not refer to technical or specific jobs skills but to employability skills such as attitudes, self discipline and a commitment to learning. Most teachers or Professors have never worked outside of the whinging world of the College and really know sweet diddley about the real world of work.
While most employers expect to train new employees in company-specific procedures and to acquaint them with the behavioural norms, standards, and expectations in their company (the Brand) as well as job-specific technical skills required, they are very clear that the schools and family should take most of the responsibility for equipping young people with general employability skills.
What Skills are in Demand in the New Workplace?
Get serious in finding out what skills are in demand in the new workplace. This is equally important for those who are searching for jobs and for those already in jobs. Nothing is secure right now. Change is the one thing you need to manage. Keep learning new skills and updating what you have.
What Top Employers Look for
What are your thoughts on these?
Do you think these employers observations are true?
What Employers See as Valuable
The attitudes and behaviours (other than technical competence) that employers see as valuable in the actual work place are often referred to as employability skills. These employability skills include reading, basic arithmetic and other basic skills like problem solving, decision making, and other higher-order thinking skills.
Also, dependability, a positive attitude, cooperativeness, and other communication and human skills that make you a contributor to the company and not a slouching doofus hidden in a corner when clients come.
Employability Skills are not job specific. They are skills which cut horizontally across all employment sectors and vertically across all jobs from entry level to chief executive officer. Although the critical employability skills identified by employers vary considerably in the way they are organized, there is a great deal of agreement among the skills and traits identified.
Occupational Skills for Today's Workplace
Specific occupational skills that are crucial to today's workplace
It looks like specific occupational skills are less crucial for entry-level employment than high level of literacy, responsible attitudes toward work, the ability to communicate well, and the ability to continue to learn. Studies in many countries suggest that employers place greatest importance on employee attitudes, basic skills over job-specific skills, and for workers to have an understanding of the work environment.
What Employers Want - Make sure you have these skills
Here is a video that will highlight some of the points employers identified as important.
Other people's opinions on workplace skills
Here are a some useful articles to read so as to better understand today's work place skills needs.
More Information on Employability Skills
- Employability skills
Employability Skills 2000+ - Education and Learning
- How to identify your work skills
University of Kent > Careers > Employability Skills Careers home page, Employability skills, Work experience Choosing a career. What career would suit me?
- Meeting the employability challenge | Employability Skills
Homepage. If you want to help your learners progress successfully to a job, a further course or self-employment and, crucially, to realise their potential in the 21st century workplace, this resource is for you.
- Quality of potential employees
A poll of some of Britain's biggest businesses, such as HSBC, Santander, KPMG and Procter & Gamble, found widespread despair with the quality of potential recruits.
Planning your employment for today's workplace
Where Does One Start?
There is a great need for preparing young people with good work habits. Students need to be taught such things as honesty, punctuality, regular attendance, productivity, and conscientiousness. Mom and Dad...and Grandpa and Grandma...are you listening?
Moreover, most workplaces require different kinds of tasks, approaches, and employees.
Work is problem-oriented, flexible, and organized in teams; labor is not a cost but an investment. Think of the Island teams in Maldives that build boats or the multi-skilled Island Teams hired by contractors to build entire bungalow units at Resorts.
Good teams and companies recognize that producing defective products cost more than producing a high-quality one.
The solution: design quality into the learning process itself, particularly by enabling learners to make on-the-spot decisions and build the team skills that include communication, sharing, multi-skilling and support.
More students now combine in-school with on-the-job learning. This is a good way to start a career path. Don't tell them, show them, and let them practice.
The Changing Workplace
Demands of Today's Workplace on New Entrants
The Workplace is Changing
Today's workplace demand that entry-level workers be able to operate independently, using problem-solving and decision-making skills. The need for worker collaboration and teamwork requires employees to be creative, flexible, and possess good interpersonal and managerial skills.
The reference to interpersonal skills points to yet another reason for the changes in the employability skill needs of today's workplace: the increasingly multicultural nature of the workforce. When you visit a resort inMaldives or a hotel in Cambodia or trek in the Himalayas, or join a Bank in Hong Kong, you not only meet tourists from everywhere, but your co-workers will be from around the globe Major construction projects may involve workers from many countries and cultures. Corporations have also changed colors. Good interpersonal skills will be more in demand the more multicultural the workforce becomes.
A final reason for the increased interest in equipping young people with basic, higher-order, and affective skills is the growing awareness of what happens when great numbers of people lack these qualifications. The Tower of Babel was not just a language issue.
Anecdote that led to employment
I read this from Edmund Fuller's 2500 Anecdotes for All Occasions and thought of sharing this here.
"Many are called, but few are chosen" might well be the motto emblazoned above the doors of the Hollywood casting directors. One hopeful young actor was turned down time and again by the same company. Despairing yet determined, he made a final effort. Approaching one film director, he said, "It's now or never, if you want me in one of your pictures. I now have many companies after me."
"You have?" asked the director, his interest aroused by this statement. " What companies?"
"Well," said the actor seriously, "there's the telephone company, the electric and gas companies, the milk company..."
The director laughed - the actor got the job.
Do you have the Employability Skills for today's jobs?
What are you doing about it?
The central questions to be addressed include: What skills and traits do employers look for in prospective entry-level employees? What educational practices has experience shown to be effective in passing on employability skills and traits to students? No...not just the military. There are many effective learning environments.
Employability Skills Development...an Ethical Imperative - Transition from School to the Workplace
Transition from School to Work
Most countries have a more or less do-it-yourself system for making the transition from school to work and so the odds are, what you learned in school is not adequately related to what you need to know to succeed after leaving school.
Roughly one-third of all high school graduates, and somewhat more high school dropouts, fail to find stable employment by the time they are thirty. For this group, the rather casual system does not work well. Why does the US and many European countries have massive unemployment and yet millions of job openingss. If it were just tech skills, government retraining would deal with it. Employability skills...attitudes and behaviors are really tough to build in once the parents have missed the ship.
Work-related failure or even unsatisfactory work experience can have serious negative repercussions for the well-being of those unfortunate enough to experience it. Thus, some have gone on to argue that providing young people with qualifications for employability is, among other things, an ethical responsibility. This is not just an economic issue. It is one of equity and fairness. Think about employability skill development as one of the civil rights issues. Those responsible for programs in this area have a moral obligation to provide the most complete education and training possible for students and clients.
Work is of central importance to our well-being. We take a large part of our identification from it and thus it forms a significant part of our self-concept. There is a strong ethical and practical imperative facing all of us who help prepare people for the labor market: to ensure that our clients or students are well-prepared to enter work situations.
Schools and Employment Success - Teaching Employability Skills
Right now, there is a skills gap in that employers advertise technician jobs and get only 10 applications but when they advertise business office jobs, they get hundreds upon hundreds. Why? Is career coounseling no longer practiced? Are models education use highlight office and business jobs? Why are graduates not prepared for the workplace?
Teaching Employability in Schools
There are still many teachers and administrators who believe that students will pick up these skills and abilities incidentally in the course of growing up. They believe that some capabilities-particularly critical and creative thinking and affective traits such as a positive attitude and a cooperative manner are qualities that people either have or don't have. It looks like recent research conducted with employers makes it clear that this is not the case.
Research, however, show that these employability skills and traits can be taught and learned. Therefore, all of them are appropriate and important targets for learning interventions.
Studies also show that these skills are most likely to be taught and learned when acquisition of them is explicitly stated along with other program goals. For one thing, doing so keeps the attention of instructors focused on activities to build these skills. For another, it places employability skill development on the same level as academic and technical skills, thereby communicating to students that they are important and need to be learned. Employability skills, then, can be taught and are important to teach.
Should employability skills be taught in schools? - Should they be included in the elementary, secondary or tertiary level?
In what curriculum level should employability skills be included?
How Can Employability Skills be Taught More Effectively?
Here are some approaches identified by studies as more effective: Democratic instructional approaches are in; indoctrination out.
Democratic approaches are said to raise student consciousness about values, attitudes, and worker responsibilities. Try some role playing/simulation, problem solving, and group discussion. They encourage students to explore their attitudes.
Replicating Key Features of Real Work Situation
Team work values
Success is seen in classes in which instructors attempted to teach work values and attitudes in a context similar to the world of work. This meant engaging students as active participants in the learning process.
Prospective employers will expect them to be active participants in the workplace. Situations are presented where students can acquire and apply knowledge and skills to real-world problems, learn to work with others in a community of learner-practitioners, and develop intrinsic motivation for learning and working.
Instructors with High Expectations - Critical feature
Teacher Expectations and Skills
Beyond approaches is the instructor. Instructors who hold and communicate high expectations for the learning and behavior of their students-whether or not the overall culture of the school holds high expectations for them made a difference.
Communicating high expectations for students' learning and deportment are critical features of effective schooling. This includes expectations for basic skill application, punctuality, dependability, thoroughness, decision-making capability, cooperation.
Classes become opportunities for students to practice and perfect these skills and traits. As they perfect these skills, this enhances the qualities of skill-related self-confidence and general self-esteem.
Instructors as Facilitators and Coaches
Realistic Learning settings and Tasks
Realistic learning settings and tasks engage students to take much of the responsibility for their own learning. Instructors become facilitators and mentors rather than lecturers and order givers. They relate to their students in ways that supervisors in high-performance workplaces relate to those they supervise.
With the instructor functioning as a guide and "expert practitioner," the student engages in group problem solving and decision making with others on his or her team while working on a group project, generating hypotheses, testing ideas, and deriving generalizations. Teachers move from group to group monitoring progress and offering limited assistance, instruction, or motivation, much as an "expert consultant" might, but less aggressively. Students need to take responsibility.
Students can also be given certain situational factors which might be present in a workplace setting. With input and guidance from the instructor, they engage in role-playing to resolve the situation or make recommendations. These simulations have been shown to be effective in developing good work attitudes and work habits in students. Even those students who observe role-playing sometimes experience attitude changes or confirmations.
Instructional Content and Strategies
Instructional content and strategies observed in the classrooms of successful teachers are not textbook-or schedule-driven. They are provided in response to each unique situation and are based on teachers' understanding of the ways their different students take in and process information.
As is often the case in actual work settings, students acquire skills on an as-needed basis. Instruction is offered in response to immediate and specific student needs. Students articulate their learning, verbalize their perceptions or conclusions about their own performance.