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Employability Skills Required by the 21st Century Workplace: A Literature Review of Labor Market Demand

Authors:
Employability skills required by the 21st-century
workplace: a literature review of labour market
demand
I Made Suarta, I Ketut Suwintana, I G P Fajar Pranadi Sudhana, Ni Kadek Dessy Hariyanti
Politeknik Negeri Bali
Badung, Indonesia
madesuarta@pnb.ac.id
AbstractThis paper discusses the importance of
employability skills of graduates in entering the workforce
according to employers' perceptions, through a literature review.
In 21st century workplace, the occupation-specific skills are no
longer sufficient for graduates to meet the needs of labour
markets. Workers are nowadays expected to have an additional
set of skills and attributes, called employability skills.
Employability skills become a very important issue at the
national, regional, and international labour market. The
literature review found a number of employability skills attribute
required by graduates in entering the workforce. Communication
skills, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and teamwork
skills are the attributes of employability skills with highest
importance level. Graduates are also expected to have a number
of personal attributes included: self-awareness, self-confidence,
independence, emotional intelligence, flexibility and adaptability,
stress tolerance, creativity and initiative, willingness to learn,
reflectiveness, lifelong learning, and professional behaviour.
Keywords labour market; 21st-century workplace;
employability skills; personal attributes.
I. INTRODUCTION
The main barriers to higher education graduates in entering
the world of work are the gap between the graduate job skills
and the skills needed in the workplace. The workforce in the
21st century not only requires graduates with high academic
qualifications as represented by the subject and degree class but
also equipped with a number of skills and attributes. Employer
surveys indicate that occupation-specific skills are no longer
sufficient for graduates to meet the needs of national labour
markets [1]. In addition to basic and specific knowledge and
skills, workers are nowadays expected to have an additional set
of skills. A number of skills and attributes also called
employability skills, are required by students to prepare
themselves to meet the needs of various occupations after
graduation. Employability skills are considered one missing
link between education and training and the world of work.
The current working environment differs from the previous
age. The global job market characterized by change and
increased competition for jobs. Research conducted by Think
Global and British Council found that for job seekers,
knowledge and awareness of the wider world are more
important than degree classification [2]. Today’s global
competition and the process of new management required the
employee to have critical thinking, able to solve problems
besides excellent in communication skills. In order to respond
the technology advances and the competitive world of work, it
is necessary to prepare graduates to have the skills and ability
to adapt working environment [3]. Employability becomes very
important as it facilitates them to move from one job to
another, within and between organizations.
The importance of employability skills is increasingly
emphasized in recent times. Employability skills are a group of
essential abilities that involve the development of a knowledge
base, expertise level and mindset that is increasingly necessary
for success in the modern workplace [4, 5]. Employability
skills are typically considered essential qualifications for many
job positions and hence have become necessary for an
individual's employment success at just about any level within
a business environment [6]. According to the American
Management Association, employability skill attributes such as
critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and
innovation, collaboration, and communication skills are
becoming increasingly important in today's global economy
[7]. Other research also shows the employability skills essential
for career success of graduates in the workplace [8, 9]. Skills
such as communication, problem-solving, decision-making,
analytical and critical thinking, synthesizing information,
teamwork, interpersonal, and continuous learning are some of
the employability skill attributes required by graduates in
entering the workforce [10], as well as being a prerequisite for
professional recognition.
Employability skills become a very important issue at the
national, regional, and international labour market.
Employability skills are considered one missing link between
education and training and the world of work. Labor market as
one of the driving forces of the content and quality of education
attributes high value to international recognition of
qualifications and education. Since labour market uses and
applies the learning outcomes in real life, quality of education
and training policy cannot exist separately from it. The
pressure of global competition means that graduates need to
offer an employer more than academic skills traditionally
represented by the subject and degree class. Since the 1990s,
there were numerous reports from government, industry, higher
education agencies and researchers urged the higher education
1st International Conference on Technology and Vocational Teachers (ICTVT 2017)
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Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 102
337
sector to bring employability skills into the students’ learning
experience [11]. The reports suggest that the universities and
colleges should plan to support graduates in developing the
skills of employability, which represent graduates’ work
readiness.
In 21st century workplace, important for higher education
institutions to design and implement programs that are
appropriate to the missions and goals to supply the workforce
relevant to the needs of stakeholders or employers. Higher
vocational education has the responsibility to provide graduates
with knowledge in the professional field with intellectual skills
and ability to apply theory to practical situations. This paper
becomes part of the author's concern in developing higher
vocational education, in order to prepare graduates to have
knowledge-specific skills and also have employability skills.
This paper discusses labour market demand on employability
skills, the important attributes of employability skill needed in
the workplace. The purpose of the discussion is to review the
labour market demand for employability skills, the important
attributes of employability skills needed in the workplace.
II. THE EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS FRAMEWORK
Various terminologies are currently used within the
international research community to refer the category of
employability skills. The term of employability skills has
gained prominence of late because of the changing world of
work. Employability is used interchangeably with other terms
such as generic skills, transferable skills, non-technical skills,
core skills, key skills, essential skills, and 21st-century skills.
These skills were seen to have relevance to both entry-level
and established employees. Employability skills framework has
been developed in many countries. This framework describing
the need for employability skills, and outlining some existing
definitions. Some of which are described below.
In 2001, Australian Department of Education, Science and
Training (DEST) and Australian National Training Authority
(ANTA) commissioned a project that gathered the views of
industry on the critical generic skills required in Australian
workplaces. The report from the Australian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Business Council of
Australia (BCA), defines employability skills are skills
required not only to gain employment but also to progress
within an enterprise so as to achieve one’s potential and
contribute successfully to enterprise strategic directions [12].
The Employability Skills Framework, outlined in
Employability skills for the future, provides the starting point
for any discussion of employability skills in higher education in
Australia. The report identified personal attributes required for
today’s employees and eight skill groups to describe and define
employability skills. The eight skill groupings are (1)
communication skills, (2) teamwork skills, (3) problem-solving
skills, (4) initiative and enterprise skills, (5) planning and
organizing skills, (6) self-management skills, (7) learning
skills, and (8) technology skills. Personal attributes are terms
used to describe a set of non-skill-based behaviours and
attitudes that employers felt were as important as the
employability skills and other technical or job-specific skills.
The personal attributes included loyalty, commitment, honesty
and integrity, enthusiasm, reliability, personal presentation,
commonsense, positive self-esteem, sense of humour, balanced
attitude to work and home life, ability to deal with pressure,
motivation, and adaptability.
The Learning and Employability Series offers a wide range
of perspectives on the employability of graduates. In this
documents, employability defined as a set of skills, knowledge
and personal attributes that make an individual (graduates)
more likely to gain employment and be successful in their
chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce,
the community and the economy” [13]. The employability
skills framework consists of personal qualities, core skills, and
process skills. Each skill groups made up of a number of
aspects (Table I).
TABLE I. LIST OF EMPLOYABILITY ASPECTS
Personal Qualities
Core Skills
Process Skills
Malleable self-theory
Reading effectiveness
Computer literacy
Self-awareness
Numeracy
Commercial awareness
Self-confidence
Information retrieval
Political sensitivity
Independence
Language skills
Ability to work cross-culturally
Emotional intelligence
Self-management
Ethical sensitivity
Adaptability
Critical analysis
Prioritizing
Stress tolerance
Creativity
Planning
Initiative
Listening
Applying subject understanding
Willingness to learn
Written communication
Acting morally
Reflectiveness
Oral presentations
Coping with complexity
Explaining
Problem solving
Global awareness
Influencing
Arguing
Resolving conflict
Decision-making
Negotiating
Teamwork
Adapted from Yorke & Knight (2006)Embedding employability into the curriculum”.
UNESCO Bangkok with the support of Japanese Funds-in-
Trust and UNESCO Jakarta coordinated a study on the employability of university graduates in selected countries in
Asia. The study aimed to analyze the factors that have an
Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 102
338
impact on graduate employability and to identify policies and
strategies that have been put in place by universities to prepare
and train their graduates to meet the demands of the workplace.
The main findings of the employability concept in Asia is
refers to a wide range of attributes and competencies that
enable the job seekers to gain and maintain employment such
as, but not limited to, the following: (1) communication skills;
(2) logical, analytical and problem-solving skills; (3)
personality, confidence, and integrity; (4) flexibility and
adaptability; (5) innovation and creativity; and (6) team spirit
[14]. These skill groups vary among countries in Asia.
Specifically the employers’ perspective in Indonesia,
identified the kind of skills are important to help graduate
entering the world of work such as (1) communication skills;
(2) teamwork skills; (3) integrity; (4) intellectual capacity; (5)
self-confidence; (6) personality / individual character; (7)
planning skills; (8) writing skills; (9) computing skills; (10)
analytical and problem-solving skills; and (11) other skills [15].
Previous studies concluded supervisors perceived the most
important skills consist of workplace health and safety skills,
self-management skills, teamwork skills, learning skills,
technology skills, and problem-solving skills [16].
The concept of employability in Malaysia emphasized on
three aspects: (a) the ability to gain initial employment, (b) the
ability to maintain employment and make ‘transitions’ between
jobs and roles within the same organization to meet new job
requirements, and (c) the ability to obtain new employment if
required, to be independent in the labor market by being
willing and able to manage employment transitions between
and within organizations. To meet these concept of
employability, higher education graduates are expected to have
general attributes including the following: (1) critical and
creative thinking; (2) preparedness to serve others; (3) personal
transferable skills: (a) managing tasks and solving problems
(analytical and conceptual thinking, gathering information to
assist problem solving and decision making); (b) working with
others (understanding how others perceive themselves and the
needs of others, and building positive relationships); (c)
communication (oral and written); and (d) self-awareness
(taking responsibility for one’s own learning and development;
dealing with pressures and emotions; and showing sense of
purpose); (4) cognitive, emotional and moral development and
practical competence [17].
In the last decade, many education systems in the Asia-
Pacific region have integrated “the transversal competencies”,
as generic skills are critical for people to meet the new needs of
society and compete in the global workforce. UNESCO
Bangkok’s new publication examines how different countries
and economies in the Asia-Pacific region define and apply such
transversal competencies in their education policies and
practices. The research conducted by Education Research
Institutes Network (ERI-Net) concluded UNESCO Framework
for Transversal Competencies consisting of five broad domains
of skills, competencies, values and/or attributes. These are (1)
critical and innovative thinking; (2) interpersonal skills; (3)
intra-personal skills; (4) global citizenship; and (5) media and
information literacy [18]. Each domain of transversal
competencies consists of a number of skill attributes (Table II).
TABLE II. UNESCO FRAMEWORK FOR TRANSVERSAL COMPETENCIES
Domains
Examples of key skills and competencies
Critical and innovative thinking
Creativity, entrepreneurship, resourcefulness, application skills, reflective thinking, reasoned
decision-making
Inter-personal skills
Communication skills, organizational skills, teamwork, collaboration, sociability, collegiality,
empathy, compassion
Intra-personal skills
Self-discipline, ability to learn independently, flexibility and adaptability, self-awareness,
perseverance, self-motivation, compassion, integrity, risk-taking, self-respect
Global citizenship
Awareness, tolerance, openness, responsibility, respect for diversity, ethical understanding,
intercultural understanding, ability to resolve conflicts, democratic participation, conflict
resolution, respect for the environment, national identity, sense of belonging
Media and information literacy
Ability to locate and access information through ICT, media, libraries and archives, express and
communicate ideas through ICT, use media and ICT to participate in democratic processes, ability
to analyze and evaluate media content.
III. LABOR MARKET DEMAND ON EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS
As stated earlier in this paper, employability skills refer to a
set of generic skills and personal attributes used in tandem with
the application of technical knowledge-skills in the workplace.
Most importantly, these skills are not jobbed specific but are
skills which cut horizontally across all industries and vertically
across all jobs at all levels. These skills also required by the
21st-century workplace which is necessary for career success at
all levels of employment and for all levels of education.
In the following section, the authors summarize the results
of previous studies. The summary focused on the attributes of
employability skills required by graduates to enter the world of
work as perceived by the employer or supervisor at the
workplace. The results are shown in Table III.
Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 102
339
TABLE III. SUMMARY OF RESEARCH ON EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS
Focus Research
Methods
Approach
Employability Skill Attributes
Employers’
perspective [19]
The questionnaire, the
respondents consisted of 180
employees in various fields of
engineering.
The instruments used in this study were
adapted from the SCANS model.
The analysis showed that personal quality is the highest
mean values followed by interpersonal skills, resources
skills, basic skills, information skills, thinking skills, and
system and technology skills.
Graduates and
employers
perception [20]
The questionnaire to assess the
information perceived by
graduates and employers. There
were 34 graduates and 29
employees who returned the
questionnaire.
The instrument used in this study
adapted from Survey of the
Employability Skills Needed in the
Workforce, originally designed by J.
Shane Robinson.
Problem-solving and analytic, decision-making,
organization and time management, communication ability,
interpersonal skills, leadership and influence, creativity,
innovation, flexibility and ability to conceptualize, lifelong
learning, professional behaviour, motivation-personal
strength.
Examines
employers and
instructors’
perspectives [21]
The data was collected using a
questionnaire which was
analyzed using descriptive and
inferential analysis.
Focusing on seven core skills
comprising communication skills;
critical thinking and problem-solving
skills; teamwork skills; lifelong
learning and information management;
integrity and professional ethics;
entrepreneurship skills; and leadership
skills.
The highest ranked perceived by employers and university
instructors are communication skills, and integrity &
professional ethics. The lowest ranked are leadership skills
and entrepreneurship skills.
Investigates the
importance of
employability skills
as perceived by
employers [22]
The data was collected using a
questionnaire. Employers
participating in this research
was an operational manager,
supervisor and chief executive.
The instruments used in this study were
adapted from the SCANS model,
Employability Skills 2000+ form
Conference Board of Canada, and
Malaysian Qualifications Framework
(MQF).
The findings of the study showed that employers place
great importance on communication skills, problem-solving
skills, teamwork skills and personal qualities. Graduates
also need to emphasis on leadership skills, entrepreneur
skill, technical skill and informational skills
IV. THE MOST IMPORTANT OF EMPLOYABILITY SKILL
ATTRIBUTES
The importance of employability skills is increasingly
emphasized in recent times. Presently, employers want to
recruit graduates not only with technical skills, as represented
by the subject and degree class but also with their
employability skills. Graduates’ attributes are more important
than the graduates ‘degree subjects. Based on the results shown
in Table 1, communication skills, problem-solving skills,
teamwork skills and personal qualities that are the most
important skills attributes to enter the workplace in recent time.
Here is a summarizes of important facets of employability skill
attributes.
Communication Skills
Communication is the process that occurs between two or
more people in which a message is delivered and received by
the other party. Communication happens every day in the
workplace, such as managers give direction to workers,
coworkers communicate to plan a project and employees
communicate information to customers. The ability to
communicate is one of the employability skill attribute
necessary for a graduate's success in entering the workforce. A
job candidate with good communication skills could be
selected over the candidate [23]. Various studies report the
ability to communicate is very beneficial for employees and
organizations [7, 24, 25]. Communication skills that contribute
to productive and harmonious relations between employees and
customers, and are critical to career success and contribute
significantly to organizational success [26].
Communication skills relate to one's ability in the context
of speaking, listening, writing and reading. In order to be able
to communicate effectively, a graduate or job seeker must
mastery in all domains of communication skill.
Communication skills groups consist of a number of facets: (a)
listen effectively, (b) communicate accurately and concisely,
(c) effective oral communication, (d) communicate pleasantly
and professionally, (e) effective written communication, (f) ask
good question, and (g) communicate appropriately and
professionally using social media [23].
Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Skills
A problem is any difference between an actual situation and
the desired situation. Problem-solving is the process of
identifying a discrepancy between an actual and desired state of
affairs and then taking action to resolve the deficiency or take
advantage of the opportunity. In contrast, decision-making is a
selection process where one of two or more possible solutions
are chosen to reach the desired goal [27]. Decision-making
refers to the choice of the most appropriate solution among
possible alternatives. The steps in both problems solving and
decision making are quite similar, and both processes have
been characterized as complex processes in which an
individual identifies and evaluates several alternative courses
of action and selects an alternative for the purpose of
implementation. In fact, the terms are sometimes used
interchangeably.
Problem-solving and decision-making are important skills
for business and life. In order to compete, job seekers in the
21st century must be able to find logical solutions to the
problems and they also must be able to give effective
decisions. The skills of decision-making and problem-solving
are not only the results of development and socialization but
also inevitable processes that go on throughout the life of an
individual. Problem-solving skills that contribute to productive
outcomes. Good decision-making requires a mixture of skills:
creative development and identification of options, clarity of
judgment, firmness of decision, and effective implementation.
Here are some useful methods for effective decision-making
and problem-solving: (1) problem identification, (2) goal
Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, volume 102
340
selection, (3) generation of alternative solutions, (4)
consideration of consequences associated with alternative
solutions, (5) approach to decision making, (6) implementation
of solutions, and (7) evaluation of solutions [28]. Decision-
making and problem-solving skills groups consist of a number
of facets: (a) identify and analyze problems, (b) take effective
and appropriate section, (c) realize the effect of decisions, (d)
creative and innovative solutions, (e) transfer knowledge from
one situation to another, (f) engage in life-long learning, and
(g) think abstractly about problems [23].
Teamwork Skills
Teams are composed of individuals who have several
different characteristics. Teamwork is a cooperative process
that allows ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results
[29]. Teamwork is synonymous to working collaboratively in
groups. When individuals working collaboratively in groups,
they (1) have a shared collective identity, (2) have common
goals, (3) are interdependent in terms of their assigned tasks or
outcomes, (4) have distinctive roles within the team, and (5)
are part of a larger organizational context that influences their
work and that they, in turn, can influence [30]. Teamwork
replies upon individuals working together in a cooperative
environment to achieve common team goals through sharing
knowledge and skills. The literature consistently highlights that
one of the essential elements of a team is its focus toward a
common goal and a clear purpose [31]. Successful teamwork
relies upon synergism existing between all team members
creating an environment where they are all willing to contribute
and participate in order to promote and nurture a positive,
effective team environment. Team members must be flexible
enough to adapt to cooperative working environments where
goals are achieved through collaboration and respect with
another team member.
Teamwork involves building relationships and working
with other people using a number of important skills and
habits, such as: working cooperatively; contributing to groups
with ideas, suggestions, and effort; a sense of responsibility; a
healthy respect for different opinions; and ability to participate
in group decision-making. Teamwork is a key requirement in
most occupations and an essential part of workplace success.
Employers are seeking to recruit individuals who pay due
attention to relations with peers and superiors. Students and
employers noted the ability to work with others effectively is
an important work-readiness skill [23]. Business executives
want to recruit employees who will add value to the workplace
with a composite of soft skills and who will embrace teamwork
[34]. Teamwork skills that contribute to productive working
relationships and outcomes. Teamwork skills are a set of skills
that individuals use to foster the success of groups or teams
from diverse backgrounds [35]. Teamwork skills groups
consist of a number of facets: (a) productive as a team member,
(b) positive and encouraging attitude, (c) punctual and meets
deadline, (d) maintains accountability to the team, (e) work
with multiple approaches, (f) aware and sensitive to diversity,
and (g) share ideas to multiple audiences [23].
V. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Most employers want employees who will be effective in
today’s changing economy. The employer's demand indicates
that occupation-specific skills are no longer sufficient for
graduates to meet the needs of today’s labour markets. They
prefer to hire graduates who can manage change and thrive on
it, flexible and adaptable workers who are quick to learn.
Increasingly, graduates’ attributes are more important than the
graduates ‘degree subjects. The literature review shows that
employability skills become a very important issue 21st century
labour market. Communication skills, problem-solving and
decision-making skills, and teamwork skills are the attributes
of employability skills with highest importance level. In
addition, graduates are also expected to have a number of
personal attributes included: self-awareness, self-confidence,
independence, emotional intelligence, flexibility and
adaptability, stress tolerance, creativity and initiative,
willingness to learn, reflectiveness, lifelong learning, and
professional behaviour.
This research recommends to conduct a documentation
study of job advertisements in newspapers and online, and
continue with a cross-institutional survey focusing on the
identification of important employability skills needed for
successful transition from completion of degrees to the
competitive workplace with multiple perspectives, such as
alumni, employer, faculty, and students.
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... The office skills include typewriting, shorthand, bookkeeping and more (Adam, 2015). Managerial and entrepreneurial skills comprise planning, organizing, directing, decision making, problem solving, personal drive, creativity, self-reliance, and more (Suarta, Suwintana, Sudhana & Hariyanti, 2017). ICT skills include web browsing, e-mail, database and spreadsheet management, and other computer and technology skills (Chepkonga, 2015), while communication skills include reading, writing, speaking, and listening, which are involved in the process of receiving, generating, or transmitting messages (Suarta et al., 2017). ...
... Managerial and entrepreneurial skills comprise planning, organizing, directing, decision making, problem solving, personal drive, creativity, self-reliance, and more (Suarta, Suwintana, Sudhana & Hariyanti, 2017). ICT skills include web browsing, e-mail, database and spreadsheet management, and other computer and technology skills (Chepkonga, 2015), while communication skills include reading, writing, speaking, and listening, which are involved in the process of receiving, generating, or transmitting messages (Suarta et al., 2017). Socio-psychological skills comprise inter-personal and intra-personal skills (Low, Botes, Rue & Allen, 2016). ...
... The quality of higher education programmes in terms of graduate career readiness and employability has been the focus of much research in recent times; and in many cases, the lack of employability skills in higher education graduates was reported (Abayadeera & Watty, 2016;Low et al., 2016). Suarta et al. (2017) underscored the need for institutions of higher learning to design and implement educational programmes to produce graduates who not only possess the technical skills associated with their discipline, but also interpersonal skills which meet the needs and expectations of employers. Relatedly, Villares and Brigman (2018) opined that preparing students to participate and compete favourably in today's 21st century workplace will require the implementation of definite career readiness interventions. ...
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We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website http://www.ijlter.org. We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue.
... Past studies have discovered a positive correlation between communication skills and graduates' employability (Rukuni et al., 2018;Hossain et al., 2020). Furthermore, communication skills are not only limited to oral communication but also consist of effective listening, asking good questions, and writing communication professionally using social media (Suarta et al., 2017), thus allowing messages to be delivered and received effectively to avoid any confusion during work. By communicating appropriately, people can give feedback to each other at work to improve their performance, which directly contributes to the success of an organization. ...
... Secondly, collaboration skills are one of the employability attributes required for graduates to succeed in the workforce. Research has revealed that collaboration skills have the ability to promote graduates' employability when they are stepping into the workplace (Habets et al., 2020) as it allows them to work as a team to accomplish common tasks efficiently by exchanging information and expertise (Suarta et al., 2017). In addition, individuals with excellent collaboration skills are able to share the workload and motivate their teammates to foster a productive working environment. ...
... Thirdly, problem-solving skills are also among the skills that affect graduates' employability. Research shows that employers value candidates who have skills in problem-solving (Fajaryati and Akhyar, 2020) and it is the skills that are critically required in the workplace nowadays (Suarta et al., 2017). Many employers expect employees to have the ability to detect problems and generate appropriate alternative solutions. ...
Article
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Today, the shift toward technology industries has made the applicable skills in high demand in the workforce. However, job training and education in general have not changed enough to keep up with the on-going trends. Concerns over the skills gap in our global workforce have exploded. In response to the demands of labor market and to close the skills gap, educational institution should focus on supporting skill development to cultivate the competencies that students need, making education in twenty-first century skills essential to prepare the students for the new and unknown in this fast-changing world of technology. This research aims to investigate the importance of twenty-first century skills for the employability of undergraduate students. The findings indicate that twenty-first century skills are the needed employability attributes, which transcend beyond qualifications and experience, that employers are looking for. It is also discovered from this study that the most effective way to attain twenty-first century skill is to focus on integrating twenty-first century knowledge and skills into the education support systems for our nation to realize its goal of successfully meeting the challenge of the twenty-first century.
... According to the study of Suarta et al. (2017), the workplaces in the 21st century require EFL undergraduates not only essential occupation-specific skills to meet the demand of the labor market, but additional important skills and attributes called employability skills as well. It leads to the fact that once 21st century learning skills are activated properly and embedded into students' curricula, the involvement is beneficial to students to prepare them for their future careers (Alismail & McGuire, 2015) In fact, it is very important to alternate and implement methods to help students enhance these employability skills. ...
... In addition, Suarta et al. (2017) highly emphasized the importance of employability skills because workers are expected to have many necessary skills and attributes related to their jobs. For EFL students, employability skills are even more and more essential, so a need for EFL students to equip themselves with appropriate knowledge, skills, and personal attributes is vital. ...
... As a result, in addition to basic and specialized knowledge, EFL students are expected to prepare their own set of skills and attributes in order to be employed and meet the employers' demands (Suarta et al., 2017). Employability skills should be implemented into the practices and learning processes in order to develop students' critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, social competencies, and so on (Fandino, 2013). ...
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This study aimed to investigate essential employability skills for English as a foreign language (EFL) students in the Mekong Delta for the context of the 21st century. It was also to determine the similarities and differences between the important employability skills from the perspectives of the employers and EFL students. In this study, a questionnaire was delivered to EFL students who were juniors and seniors at a university in the South of Vietnam, majoring in English Education and English Studies (English Interpreter). At the same time, interviews were realized on both EFL students and employers. The findings showed that both EFL students and employers highlighted the attributes of self-confidence, receptiveness to feedback, and the use of body language in communication. The types of employability skills are similarly recognized among employers and EFL students in the same fields of employment. However, a significant difference was also found among employers on different job-specific skills. The results also indicated that EFL undergraduates were all highly aware of preparing the employability skills for their future professions.
... Organizations have always placed great importance on industry/domain knowledge and have always been on the lookout for those graduates who were enterprising, resourceful and adaptable to varying organizational requirements. "Domain knowledge" is an important employability skill for employers and is instrumental in the successful continued employment of an individual at different levels within a business environment (Suarta et al., 2017). As some of the earlier researchers have posited, the HEIs must assume the role of enhancing graduates' awareness of the challenges of future employability and career-building and indulge in continued upskilling (Sin and Neave, 2016). ...
... This possibly has pushed the need for new ways to communicate with customers, identifying new markets, new product lines and new service orientation catering to the changing business needs. Furthermore, domain knowledge is necessary for an individual's employment success at different levels within a business environment (Suarta et al., 2017). Hendry (2000) asserted the need for commercial awareness and general business knowledge amongst young workers, particularly to enhance their work readiness and ability to adjust effectively to a changing working environment. ...
Article
Purpose Upholding congruency with self-determination theory (SDT), the study intends to analyze the impact of spiritual leadership (SL) on happiness at work (HAW) via affective commitment (AC) and prosocial behavior (PSB) in the Indian service sector. Design/methodology/approach The data were collected from 324 employees belonging to the service sector of north India. The study utilized AMOS and PROCESS (Hayes, 2013) to test the hypothesized model. Findings The findings provided considerable support for the hypothesized relationships between SL, AC, PSB and HAW. The findings advocate the positive association between SL and HAW routing through mediators such as AC and PSB. Research limitations/implications Future research studies have the potential to dwell on the topic from a leader's perspective, i.e. the benefits derived through practicing spirituality. The present work in this field is focused on quantitative tools; more studies can be conducted through qualitative analysis. Future works can attempt to compare the differences amongst cultures and sectors concerning SL and its outcomes. Practical implications The paper provides some relevant inputs for the Indian service sector to comprehend the criticality of SL in building long-lasting relationships amongst peers leading to creating sustainable and happy workplaces. Originality/value The study explores the relationship between SL and HAW which has neither been explored theoretically nor tested empirically.
... A higher level of adaptability is associated with achievement, enjoyment, sense of purpose and life satisfaction (2). Adaptability is a key employability skill for success for graduates (3)(4)(5)(6). There are uncertainties in the labor market caused by many factors, for example, technological advances, financial reforms and globalization (7,8). ...
Article
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across the world transitioned rapidly to remote education. Engaging with a curriculum that has been transitioned from in-person to remote education mode is likely to impact how students and educators adapt to the changes and uncertainties caused by the pandemic. There is limited knowledge about individual differences in students' and educators' adaptability to remote education in response to the pandemic. This paper explored healthcare students' and educators' adaptability experiences to remote education. Drawing on pragmatism, a convergent mixed-methods design was adopted. Data were collected between May and August in 2020 using an online survey, followed by interviews with students and educators of five large health courses at an Australian research-intensive University. Data included 476 surveys and seven focus group interviews with 26 students, and 95 surveys and 17 individual interviews with educators. Results were interpreted through an integration of quantitative and qualitative elements from student and educator experiences. Findings indicated that students were less adaptable than educators. Whilst remote learning was less appealing than in-person learning, some students adapted well to the new learning environment. Limited social learning, transmissive pedagogy, and lack of technical and non-technical skills were identified as factors that impacted upon the experience of students and educators. Navigating the challenges associated with remote education provided students and educators with a unique opportunity to improve adaptability—an attribute critical for future uncertainties in healthcare practice.
... Another related issue is the use of soft skills as equivalent of various umbrella terms, as indicated by several authors: "The term ['employability skills'] is often used interchangeably with 'soft skills', 'transferable skills', 'key skills' and 'core skills'" (Goggin et al., 2019, p. 1; see also Suarta et al., 2017); some publications even expose a larger set of equivalents (Cinque, 2016;Eurydice European Unit, 2002;E. Smith & Comyn, 2003). ...
Thesis
The links between soft skills, adaptation and performance are widely recognized, but the psychological mechanisms underlying these links have not yet been examined precisely, especially given that the definition and content of soft skills remain unclear. This research begins by gathering the consensual elements on soft skills to propose an updated definition, emphasizing the fact that they are transversal, non-technical competencies and that they can include an implicit part in their implementation and development, underlining the interest of making them explicit. Then we establish a taxonomy of soft skills based on a systematic review of the literature. This taxonomy allows us to corroborate the potential implicit part of soft skills and to highlight the need to clarify their definition. Combined with a survey of experts in organizational transformation, this study conceptually and empirically documents the links between soft skills and adaptive performance. Our second empirical study highlights the positive impact of a soft skills awareness workshop on self-efficacy and adaptive performance in a sample of employees and managers of a large industrial group undergoing transformation. This study supports also the mediating role of self-efficacy on the impact that soft skills awareness has on adaptive performance. Our third study addresses the indirect positive impact that soft skills awareness can have in supporting self-efficacy in transformational stressful periods. It shows that general self-efficacy and self-efficacy concerning soft skills remain stable, are positively related to positive mood and adaptive performance, and negatively linked to negative mood during a longitudinal study of eight weeks of confinement considered as a period of stress and transformation. This study also highlights the mediating effect of positive affect on the positive impact of self-efficacy on adaptive performance. In conclusion, this work stresses the interest of circumscribing soft skills to competencies in order to keep their conceptual and socio-economic relevance. The possibility of a hierarchic taxonomy of soft skills in order to underscore the functional and structural links of this network of skills is discussed. The overlap between soft skills and other psychological constructs, especially constructs that broaden the scope of intelligence (emotional, social and practical intelligence) are discussed as well. The ways in which soft skills awareness can contribute to reduce students’ and professionals’ soft skills deficit are developed. Finally, the contribution of soft skills to the different dimensions of work performance is conceptually synthesized.
... A lack of employability skills is often cited as a problem (Finch et al., 2013;Succi & Canovi, 2020;Webb & Chaffer, 2016). Employability skills are often referred to using different terms, such as generic skills, soft skills, core skills, key skills, key competencies, transferable skills, transverse skills, 21st-century skills, cross-disciplinary skills, life skills, and work-ready skills (Holmes, 2013;Kenayathula et al., 2019;Suarta et al., 2017;Weligamage, 2009). A United States survey of nearly 900 executives found that 92% thought soft skills were equally or more important than technical skills (Davidson, 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the relative importance of different employability skills for business graduates seeking initial employment. Method: Semi-structured survey questionnaires were administered to human resources representatives from industry, business lecturers, and graduating business students to determine gaps in perceptions between the three stakeholder groups. Results: There was some alignment and moderate discrepancies in perceptions of the relative importance of different employability skills between the three stakeholder groups. There were statistically significant differences in perceived importance of communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills between graduating students and employers. There is evidence that employers were satisfied with the level of academic skills possessed by business students at the time of graduation. However, there was significant difference in perception between employers and graduating students on the extent to which perseverance and initiative and risk-taking were fully developed among business graduates. Conclusions: By increasing their self-awareness and critical reflection on their learning experiences, graduating students can take proactive steps to enhance their positional advantage in the labour market. The various stakeholders, including academics, can lead a social dialogue towards a deliberate approach to developing graduate employability. Implications: Acquiring in-demand soft skills is one side of the employability coin; the other is developing dynamic psychological-social capital, such as self-awareness, self-directness, proactivity, adaptability, and resilience, that is underpinned by lifelong learning. Both are needed to navigate multiple job transitions and career challenges throughout one's career span. Mainga et al., 2022 Open Access Higher Learning Research Communications 29
Article
It is theoretically acknowledged that strategically organised talent management organisational mission, vision, and mission. It was reported that only 70% of universities in Malaysia declared workforce-ready graduates. As a result of the graduate employability investigation, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), parents, and graduates were alerted. However, a recent employers’ investigation revealed that recruiting skilled graduates remained to be seen. An investigation emphasising talent management attributes was launched to address the gap by employing the Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT). Drawn from DMGT, interpersonal measurement was the main construct to identify the talent management attributes. First, a qualitative method and semi-structured interview were chosen for the data collection process. Second, a seven-expert panel comprising academics and industry executives were gathered to describe the ideal university graduate’s attributes. The finding revealed seven main university graduate attributes: 1) communication, 2) leadership, 3) critical thinking and problem-solving, 4) teamwork, 5) lifelong learning and information management, 6) ethics, morals, and professionalism, and 7) entrepreneurship skills. The selected academics and industry executives recommended paying attention to career adaptability and digital technology. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) might better consider meeting the demands of the workforce and industry in the context of globalisation and digitalisation by focusing on the seven graduate attributes as evident in the investigation. As such, the seven graduate attributes are instrumental in the industry workforce. Employability, graduates, HEI, soft skills, talent management
Article
The training of pharmacy support personnel (PSP) differs considerably across the world; however, the question of whether the training of PSP meets the needs of the scope of practice in each country must be considered. This article considers a methodology employed to determine if qualifications for PSP in South Africa provided the knowledge and practical skills required by the prescribed scope of practice. A content analysis was performed in three steps, using Atlas Ti software to manage the textual information. The same basic format used in all qualitative content analysis was utilised, including preparing and organising, exploring, developing themes, reporting, and interpreting data. Content analysis can be a helpful tool in analysing large volumes of information. Despite the process being time-consuming, it allows for the trustworthiness of data. Breaking the analysis into three steps made the process more manageable, allowing a single researcher to do the analysis.
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Doubt plus modifications in our atmosphere need teachers to get ready their selves with the abilities that will firms look for inside them, in addition to there may be variations in opinion in the employers' and even gradu-ates' aspects. This specific study was executed to determine employers' together with graduates' awareness of this employability abilities needed in the market within the Maldives. It was the quantitative review, plus 2 collections associated with sample had been chosen, including participants plus hiring managers within the Mal-dives. The information was basically gathered from the structure associated with a hundred and twenty-five teachers plus 70 managers from your Maldives. The details has been soon after investigated via SPSS software program. Detailed research has been utilized to evaluate the end result. The outcomes proved of which each participants plus companies described the relevant skills extremely. The most notable 3 which is ethnical abilities , long term understanding, in addition to expert habit, had been comparable amongst teachers plus companies. There was clearly a few variations, specifically upon problem-solving expertise, which usually business employers been rated for greater than participants. The end result of the analysis furnished teachers and even teachers along with appropriate employability abilities. The particular conclusions can help tutors together with participants for making selections on the course load plus programs. Towards the researcher's understanding, this is actually the primary research available within the Maldives that will in comparison the particular em-ployability abilities from your viewpoint associated with organizations in addition to teachers.
Article
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This study examines employers and instructors’ perspectives towards university graduates’ work attainment (readiness) as indicated by their generic skills. The specific objectives of the study are 1) to examine the perception of employers and instructors towards generic skills required and displayed by fresh graduates; 2) to examine the perception of instructors towards generic skills being taught (or inculcated) at universities; 3) to identify the mismatch between employers and students’ perceptions toward generic skills required in terms of level of priority; Stratified random sampling was used to obtain the data and samples comprised 66 employers (29 multinational companies and 37 local companies) and 58 instructors from Science and Social Science backgrounds from three public universities in the Klang Valley. The data was collected using a questionnaire which was analysed using descriptive and inferential analysis. The findings indicate that there are indeed several areas of dissonance in the perception differential between employers and instructors on the importance of generic skills in terms of their priority in the workplace and the higher education curriculum.
Article
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Previous researches on employability skills conducted nationally and internationally, found that many technical graduates lacked employability skills. This article reports on the study of employability skills that graduate of manufacturing students should acquire to be employed and sustain in manufacturing industries. The study investigates the importance of employability skills as perceived by employers from manufacturing industries. The findings of the study showed that employers place great importance to communication skills, problem solving skills, team work skills and personal qualities. Graduates also need to emphasis on leadership skill, entrepreneur skill, technology skill and informational skills. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this exploratory study is to investigate the generic skills developed during the undergraduate degree from the perspectives of final year undergraduates and graduate employers. Design/methodology/approach The list of generic skills tested in this study was contextualised to Sri Lanka and developed based on prior studies. Data obtained from stakeholders via a questionnaire survey was analysed using paired-sample t-test; independent sample t-test; principal component analysis; and one-way-analysis of variance (ANOVA), with a view to explore, evaluate and compare respondents’ perspectives. Findings Our findings revealed both stakeholders believe that most of the generic skills tested in this study are important for graduates’ career success. Consistent with prior studies, respondents prioritised generic skills for career success above technical skills. Final year accounting undergraduates are aware of the skill expectations in the employment market. However, they perceive that most of the important generic skills are not adequately developed during the degree. Practical implications Findings of this study inform the importance of adopting a holistic approach to the redesign of the accounting curricula to accommodate generic skill development during the degree. Suggestions include: establishing strong links between universities, professional accounting institutions and employers; introducing participatory methods of curriculum design; and assimilating continuous reviews and frequent updates to curricula. Originality/value Sri Lanka, a developing country, was selected for this research given that little has been reported in the literature in terms of generic skills development of accounting graduates in developing countries.
Article
Purpose – The aim of this article is to examine perceptions and expectations of two major stakeholders: students and employers of the importance of skills and attributes for securing entry-level employment in accounting. Design/methodology/approach – The authors conduct an empirical study using a list of 78 items, starting by comparing employers’ expectations with students’ perceptions concerning the set of technical and non technical skills required from accounting graduates to pursue a career in the accounting profession This study involving data collection from 81 accounting students in five business schools in Tunisia and 48 practitioners. Findings – Findings indicate that employers are seeking graduates who possess a diverse range of non-technical skills. However, accounting students perceive that it is rather technical skills which determine their abilities to pursue a career in the accounting profession. Practical implications – The paper’s findings are of interest to several different parties, primarily the professional accounting body, universities and students. Originality/value – The paper describes an empirical study, conducted on a developing country, which provides a better understanding of new skills expected for future accountants in this changing business environment. The paper constitutes also a meaningful contribution to the accounting education literature, as it examines an interesting subject that has not yet been investigated in the Tunisian context.
Book
This first OECD Skills Outlook presents the initial results of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), which evaluates the skills of adults in 22 OECD member countries and two partner countries. The survey was designed to provide insights into the availability of some key skills and how they are used at work and at home through the direct assessment of key information processing skills: literacy, numeracy and problem-solving in technology-rich environments. The book examines the social and economic context, the supply of key information processing skills, who has these skills at what level, the supply of and demand for these skills in the labour market, the acquisition and maintenance of skills over a lifetime, and how proficiency in these skills translates into better economic and social outcomes.
Article
This study examined the perceptions of human resource managers and business school instructors regarding the importance of 24 specific business communication skills. Previous studies indicated broad agreement regarding the importance of student/employee communication abilities to achieve successful job performance. Yet the literature also suggested that different objectives may elicit dissimilar opinions regarding specific types of skills that constitute the ability to communicate effectively. In response to the need for more precise communication skills characterization, Conrad (2003) developed three skills sets based on the widely accepted communication constructs of organizational, leadership and interpersonal communication abilities. The results from this study show that business leaders and business instructors agree on the importance of overall student/employee communication ability; however, they vary significantly regarding the importance of individual skills.
Teams of people working together for a common purpose have been a centerpiece of human social organization ever since our ancient ancestors first banded together to hunt game, raise families, and defend their communities. Human history is largely a story of people working together in groups to explore, achieve, and conquer. Yet, the modern concept of work in large organizations that developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is largely a tale of work as a collection of individual jobs. A variety of global forces unfolding over the last two decades, however, has pushed organizations worldwide to restructure work around teams, to enable more rapid, flexible, and adaptive responses to the unexpected. This shift in the structure of work has made team effectiveness a salient organizational concern. Teams touch our lives everyday and their effectiveness is important to well-being across a wide range of societal functions. There is over 50 years of psychological research—literally thousands of studies—focused on understanding and influencing the processes that underlie team effectiveness. Our goal in this monograph is to sift through this voluminous literature to identify what we know, what we think we know, and what we need to know to improve the effectiveness of work groups and teams. We begin by defining team effectiveness and establishing the conceptual underpinnings of our approach to understanding it. We then turn to our review, which concentrates primarily on topics that have well-developed theoretical and empirical foundations, to ensure that our conclusions and recommendations are on firm footing. Our review begins by focusing on cognitive, motivational/affective, and behavioral team processes—processes that enable team members to combine their resources to resolve task demands and, in so doing, be effective. We then turn our attention to identifying interventions, or “levers,” that can shape or align team processes and thereby provide tools and applications that can improve team effectiveness. Topic-specific conclusions and recommendations are given throughout the review. There is a solid foundation for concluding that there is an emerging science of team effectiveness and that findings from this research foundation provide several means to improve team effectiveness. In the concluding section, we summarize our primary findings to highlight specific research, application, and policy recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of work groups and teams.