ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Employment & Jobs

Skills for Today's Changing Workplace

Updated on February 15, 2017

What Skills?

New Skills
New Skills | Source

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?

New University Graduates
New University Graduates | Source

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.

Recreate yourself

Navajo Practicing for the Hoop Dance Competition
Navajo Practicing for the Hoop Dance Competition | Source

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?

See results

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.

Specific Skills the Workplace Needs
Specific Skills the Workplace Needs | Source

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?

See results

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

Occupational Skills
Occupational Skills | Source

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.

Today's Workplace

Workplace | Source

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

The Changing Workplace
The Changing Workplace | Source

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

Humor helps

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 Ethical Imperative - Transition from School to the Workplace

Skills Training
Skills Training | Source

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.

Teaching Employability

Students in Skills Training
Students in Skills Training | Source

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?

Teachers and Employability
Teachers and Employability | Source

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?

See results

How Can Employability Skills be Taught More Effectively?

Some Approaches

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

Workplace Training
Workplace Training | Source

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.

What do you think? - Please share your comments.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks antigravity. You are right. Sometimes, the change though is hard for some.

    • antigravity profile image

      antigravity 2 years ago

      Increase employment skills and follow the changing world and adapt to it .

    • profile image

      MartinTim 4 years ago

      Very helpful lens...It is not easy to be a manager and I know it. Again the lens is great and the writing style is superb.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      Very helpful in finding work in today's job market.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this information, itâs very thorough and so well done!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      Superb selection and description of today's skills.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @BrianRS: Yes, they can learn the skills easily but it takes time to change attitudes.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      I used to be a senior manager and know that relevant skills and expertise are important. But a good attitude and the ability to work with others are equally as important. Very good and comprehensive lens, I enjoyed reading this.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Gayle Dowell: You are right about investing more in teachers. But over and beyond that, it is leaving the teachers some freedom to act in the classroom and not constantly being hounded by fear of litigation.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      Great lens with a lot of good information on employable skills. I do think that we can do a better job of giving our children these skills in education. Give the teachers the tools to teach and pay them well for a job well done. We need to invest in the future of our country, in our children.

    • shawnhi77 lm profile image

      shawnhi77 lm 4 years ago

      With all the people looking for jobs I certainly hope they see this lens.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 4 years ago

      Very comprehensive information. I think the requirement of skills will go on changing and it is high time for the schools and other educational institutions to gear up accordingly.

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      Wonderful lens. Everyone should read this before entering the workplace. Blessed

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @atsikplornu1: Thank you so much for your very encouraging comments.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @craftycollector: Thank you for the knowledgeable comments you added. They are very helpful.

    • craftycollector profile image

      craftycollector 5 years ago

      An absolutely brilliant lens, well researched and totally realistic. Thanks, I really enjoyed it.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @AnnieAwYang: Thank you for your visit.

    • profile image

      atsikplornu1 5 years ago

      Aesta1! Nice work.your lens is very great. Good keep it up. Thanks. Regards.


    • profile image

      AnnieAwYang 5 years ago

      very good lesson

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @StefanT LM: Another key trait to develop. Thanks for underlining this here.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @EffectiveCommunicationAdvice: You are absolutely right. Success in the job is often because of this.

    • profile image

      EffectiveCommunicationAdvice 5 years ago

      When you talk about "employability skills", a key factor is a job candidate's communication skills and how he can get along in a team environment. A lot of people don't see that how you communicate with others is a key factor in your success.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @DIY Mary: It will often take the company a month or two to train their new recruits if they have the qualities listed here.

    • promisem lm profile image

      promisem lm 5 years ago

      Regarding No. 2 of what skills employers look for:

      Warren Buffett was quoted as saying something like, "I look for integrity, energy and intelligence. If they don't have the first one, the other two will kill youl."

      I'm no Warren Buffett, but I managed people for 30 years, and I think he's absolutely right.

      Nice lens!

    • DIY Mary profile image

      DIY Mary 5 years ago

      Great info! This lens is a real eye-opener when it comes to what employers now expect from new hires. I think that summer jobs and especially university co-op programs are the best ways a student can prepare him/herself to make the transition from school to the workplace as many of the non-technical skills that employers want are best learned on the job.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 5 years ago

      Great job with this lens! You have sooo many great points and tips. Very helpful for those seeking help in employment.

    • profile image

      tammanasule 5 years ago

      Very nice lens.Seems you have done a lot of research and taken a lot of efforts for creating a well organised lens.You have provided good resources to support your lens.Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning to bless this gem, I must have been here a day way back when comments weren't coming through.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a truly outstanding lens that reflects tremendous amount of work, planning and thought. I will be tweeting and FB liking it because people inside and outside of Squidoo should get the opportunity to see and use this valuable resource.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      thank you for sharing this lens. very helpful for the newly grads.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Good tips and good lists provided in this lens.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 5 years ago

      Wow - quite the in-depth lens on employment success; if folks duplicate the quality of this page, they'll have no problems finding success. Many thanks for the hard work :)

    • AnnaAdam LM profile image

      AnnaAdam LM 5 years ago

      Huge knowledge about essentials skills to become successful at work place. I think it is very helpful for all professionals in any field.

    • mermaidlife profile image

      mermaidlife 5 years ago

      Good information for people out there looking for work.

    • laki2lav profile image

      laki2lav 5 years ago

      You have so much great info here that this lens can easily serve as a study course. great job!

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      Very informative and great looking lens. Awesome job!

      my lens, Homeschooling 101: Guide to Free Curriculum and Other Resources

    • profile image

      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago

      Great work, I am happy to see you have been blessed three times. You deserve it.

    • Philippians468 profile image

      Philippians468 6 years ago

      if i was scheduled for a job interview i would ask for as many prayers as i can get too! thank you for sharing this wonderful lens! cheers

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      This is something we all need to be aware of, especially in this economic climate. Thanks for this comprehensive lens.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Lensrolled to my: Why the "Bad" in Society seem to be Winning, You are doing something right, if people don't like you, Getting IT together...Finding Happiness, Squidoo people with a good heart, Contest Winners for Squidoo people with a good heart and Feel Empowered to Change your Life lenses. Hope it helps!

      Intelligence and Prejudice

      Making Major Life Changes

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      Wow, this is positively the most comprehensive lens I have read about skills for the workplace. I am featuring it your devoted section of my 'Squidoo people with a good heart' lens. Many, many teens, parents, employers, and others will benefit from the information you so wisely presented. Thank you so very much. Take good care, Rose

    • profile image

      moonlitta 6 years ago

      I don't nkow much about the american learning objectives; but employability skills are a problem not only in US. In my own country the problem results from schools focused on theoretical learning and lack of practical approach and developing real skills.

    • profile image

      nort43 6 years ago

      Go to University and mature...then go to a Community College and learn to DO something. There are literally hundreds of thousands of jobs empty right now desperately waiting for grads that can actually DO something. Why can't parents get the message. The social triumph of an unemployed child with an MA in Sociology is really questionable!

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 7 years ago

      Wow, so much info here and very well presented. Well done and thumbs up :)