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GRADUATES' EMPLOYABILITY: DO EMPLOYERS SEEK FOR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OR SOFT SKILLS IN COVID-19 SITUATION? A CONCEPTUAL REVIEW

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In our daily lives, critical and stressful events can take many various shapes. Stressful conditions, such as natural disasters and epidemics, may sometimes be more serious on a national or global scale, as it affects our life, jobs and life events in general (Drigas & Papoutsi, 2020). With the advent of the Covid-19 virus, we were in such a terrible and stressful situation. After all the time, effort, and money incurred in obtaining a degree, it is normal for graduates to focus on technical abilities learned throughout their studies in order to be employed. Surprisingly, to a disappointment of job seeking fresh graduates, there are skills and attributes that potential employers value even more apart from skills directly relevant to the job. More importantly, soft skills which are related to a candidate's emotional intelligence should be given more weightage than hard skills which are knowledge specific, Emotional intelligence is making a significant contribution to combating the pandemic. soft skills aid in obtaining and maintaining employment, and help people to adapt and behave positively so that they can deal with the challenges of their everyday life. Basic components of emotional intelligence which include awareness, management, and empathy, are extremely crucial for individuals to manage the challenging Covid-19 situations. Finding in this research presents the need for courses and programs to foster, develop and increase emotional intelligence and soft skills to be considered at all levels of education. This research sheds light on the critical impacts of emotional intelligence and soft skills to positively shape graduates' employability from the employers' perspective.
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Proceeding 26th Kuala Lumpur International Business, Economics and Law Conference.
28 May 2022, Online Conference.
E-ISSN- 2686-9118
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GRADUATES’ EMPLOYABILITY: DO EMPLOYERS SEEK FOR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OR
SOFT SKILLS IN COVID-19 SITUATION? A CONCEPTUAL REVIEW
Marwa Mohammed Abdulameer Al Asefer
Faculty of Business, Information and human sciences
Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL)
Email: marwa22288@yahoo.com
Noor Saadah Zainal Abidin
Faculty of Business, Information and human sciences
Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL)
Email: Saadah@iukl.edu.my
ABSTRACT
In our daily lives, critical and stressful events can take many various shapes. Stressful conditions, such as natural disasters
and epidemics, may sometimes be more serious on a national or global scale, as it affects our life, jobs and life events in
general (Drigas & Papoutsi, 2020). With the advent of the Covid-19 virus, we were in such a terrible and stressful
situation. After all the time, effort, and money incurred in obtaining a degree, it is normal for graduates to focus on
technical abilities learned throughout their studies in order to be employed. Surprisingly, to a disappointment of job
seeking fresh graduates, there are skills and attributes that potential employers value even more apart from skills directly
relevant to the job. More importantly, soft skills which are related to a candidate's emotional intelligence should be given
more weightage than hard skills which are knowledge specific, Emotional intelligence is making a significant contribution
to combating the pandemic. soft skills aid in obtaining and maintaining employment, and help people to adapt and behave
positively so that they can deal with the challenges of their everyday life. Basic components of emotional intelligence
which include awareness, management, and empathy, are extremely crucial for individuals to manage the challenging
Covid-19 situations. Finding in this research presents the need for courses and programs to foster, develop and increase
emotional intelligence and soft skills to be considered at all levels of education. This research sheds light on the critical
impacts of emotional intelligence and soft skills to positively shape graduates' employability from the employers'
perspective.
Keywords: Employability, Emotional Intelligence, Soft skills, Covid-19, Employers, Graduates
Proceeding 26th Kuala Lumpur International Business, Economics and Law Conference.
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INTRODUCTION
A crisis is a situation in which daily life is disrupted and danger, uncertainty, instability, and forced action exist (Samman,
2015), critical events of varying degrees of severity and complexity cause the restructuring of current behavioural
strategies (Mamzer, 2020). The problem is COVID-19 pandemic has been linked to significant rises in unemployment in
numerous nations (Blustein, Duffy, Ferreira, Cohen, Cinamon & Allan, 2020). This loss of employment has a substantial
impact on people's ability to access financial resources and being employed (Casale & Posel, 2020; Wills, Patel, Berg &
Mpeta, 2020). Employers and many companies utilise a personality test in the recruiting process, according to a survey
by the American management association (Kyllonen, 2013). The importance of noncognitive talents, also known as soft
skills and emotional intelligence, cannot be overstated, according to Goleman (1995) and Urquijo, Extremera & Azanza
(2019) because they contribute to an individual's success or failure in the job.
Soft skills and emotional intelligence are widely acknowledged as vital for efficiently performing professional
responsibilities; soft skills distinguish between average and excellent performance in the integration of each company and
society (Majid et al, 2020). Managers in the workplace require a specific approach for determining an individual's degree
of soft skills and emotional intelligence (noncognitive skills) in order to make informed employment decisions that lead
to higher productivity (Oberpeul, 2020). Improvements in these skills connected to behaviour and academic motivation
have been used to establish the importance of soft skills and emotional intelligence, which are crucial to long-term job
outcomes (Jones et al., 2016).
Many graduate students, according to Oberpeul (2020), are more focused on acquiring academic abilities in their field of
study, therefore they overlook the relevance of noncognitive skills (soft skills and emotional intelligence). However, it
was only during the crisis of Covid-10 pandemic, that the need of emotional intelligence became obvious (Fuchs, 2020).
Employees that are emotionally intelligent have a more positive outlook, appear more happy, devoted, and loyal to their
profession and organisation, which leads to a more congenial work atmosphere and improved job performance (Miao et
al., 2017).
Soft skills and emotional intelligence are vital not only for a person's work but also for success in life (Oberpuel, 2017).
Furthermore, due to external environmental, political, and economic factors such as recession, war, and, most recently,
the breakout of COVID-19, the idea of graduate employability is fast shifting (Hosain, Mustafi & Parvin, 2021). As a
result, the authors suggest that more research into this specific and important field of business and economics is required.
The objective of this paper is to examine the importance of emotional intelligence and soft skills in determining graduates’
employability and what do employers seek when hiring a graduate during the pandemic is highlighted in this study.
LITERATURE REVIEW
This review article looks at earlier studies on "employability" and its links to emotional intelligence (EI) and soft skills,
as well as what employers are looking for when employing a graduate.
EMPLOYABILITY
An early definition of employability was the ability of graduates to obtain a job which used the simple measure of testing
whether a graduate had obtained a job within six months of leaving university (Asiri, Bocij & Greasley, 2017). The
Canadian Labor Force Development Board (CLFDB) viewed employability as “the ability of individuals to gain valuable
employment in the interaction with the labor market”. Paying more attention on the employability at work, the
International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted employability as “the ability to make progress at work and to react
to changes in work. The phrase "employability" captured a wide range of talents, including transferable, generic,
intellectual, interpersonal, industry-specific, and cognitive abilities. Despite the lack of a widely accepted definition,
employability includes a collection of abilities and personal characteristics that can help an individual find work, keep it,
and advance in their career (Romgens, 2019).
Employability consists of skills and talents that graduates must possess in order to increase their job prospects and the
country's economic and social development (Jeswani, 2016; Phago & Thwala, 2015). while Behle (2020) termed it as the
ability to find, retain, and advance in graduate employment. Advocates such as Koenelakis & Petrakaki (2020) focused
on employability is a set of accomplishments, talents, understandings, and personal traits that makes graduates more likely
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to find work and thrive in their chosen fields, benefitting themselves, the economy, and society. However, York (2006)
asserted that employability as "the capacity to move self-sufficiently within the labour market to achieve potential through
sustained work," as cited by Roslan, Ping, Sulaiman, Jalil, and Yan-Li (2020). Additionally, entails not only the ability
to obtain and keep a rewarding work, but also the ability to move autonomously within the labour market in order to
realise one's potential through long-term employment (Balangen et al. ,2021). While Sutil & Otamendi (2021) opined that
employability is the capability to move self-sufficiently to realise the potential in the labour market through long-term
employment.
According to Perera et al., (2017),the graduate rising unemployment has been connected to lack of graduates competency
and not meeting employers' standards. Although academic knowledge is crucial, it is not the only aspect that determines
a graduate's employment (Jayasingha and Suraweera, 2020), so what do employers want?
It is widely acknowledged that emotional intelligence is a skill that companies value in fresh graduates who are likely to
be recruited. A total of 79.3 percent of human resource managers want fresh graduates to have emotional intelligence
(Matsouka & Maihail, 2016). Similarly, Li & Pu (2021) found that interns who score high on emotional intelligence have
a higher chance of being considered for employment by the internship host organisation than those who score low.
However, soft skills have been demonstrated to be more important in studies since they have gotten greater focus in
organisations and are in higher demand by employers (Low et al., 2016). Soft skills will not only help an employee stand
out in today's more competitive market, but they will also boost relationships, work performance, and employability
growth as emphasized by Kahirol et al., (2016) & Stewart et al., (2016).
In addition, soft skills are just as productive as professional skills (Balcar et al., 2018) and in the recent studies, soft skills
are becoming more important because it has been receiving greater attention in business and are in higher demand by
employers (Bao, 2021). The extent to which emotional intelligence and soft skills are critical to employability from the
business standpoint in hiring graduates require further exploration.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
In terms of the working environment, emotional intelligence (EI) plays an important role that involves an understanding
of how someone deals with engagements with respect to their own emotions and having a good association with the
people around them (Praditsang, 2018). EI is a feasible variable in the explanation of success in life and work place as
well as its significance to assist people to have interaction with their environment, involving work environment and its
relation to performance (Shahhosseini, Silong, Ismaill & Uli, 2018).
Today, administrators at work environment understand the importance of emotional intelligence (EI) as a plan of
capability management and abilities which authorizes a person to thrive in the work environment (Vasudevan & Mahadi,
2017). Conversely, absence of emotional intelligence weakens both a person’s and an organization’s growth and
development (Pathak, Shankar & Tewari, 2018). Past research has found that emotional intelligence (EI) plays an
important role in the ability to understand oneself and other people (Stamatopoulou, Galanis & Prezerakos, 2016). EI is
not only essential for creating good collaboration with other people but also by having good self-knowledge and good
ability to read and understand the emotions and social essence of other people, it can become easier to understand them. In
fact, EI has been applied in several domains, such as clinical, educational, and organizational psychology (Petrides et al.,
2016; Siegling et al., 2015).
Ceschi, Sartori, Dickert & Constantini (2016) found that high emotional intelligence (EI) is an important interpersonal
resource which employees bring to organizations by developing good social relations at the workplace, for example
people with higher EI are more successful at problem solving and experience less anxiety which are highly demanded by
employers.
Salovey and Mayer in 1990 were early adopters discovered that emotional intelligence (EI) is a form of intelligence that
involves the ability to monitor one's own and other's feeling and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this
information to guide one's thinking and actions (Poonamallee et al., 2018); while advocates such as Goleman found that
EI involved an understanding how someone deals with conflicts with respect to their own emotions and having a good
association with the people around them (Praditsang, 2018).Hence, EI includes the ability to monitor one's own and other
people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional
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information to guide thinking and behaviour (Srivastava, 2013).Meanwhile, Fox (2013) discovered that EI has been a
substantial magnification of interest in the past two decades, especially since Daniel Coleman released his 1995 book
where he suggested that EI revealed abilities such as self- control, self motivation and persistence. On the other hand,
Gupta and Bajaj (2018) suggested that the roots of EI can be found in the concept of social intelligence put forward by
Thorndike (1920) who revealed it as the ability to understand men, women, boys and girls; to act wisely in human
relations.
Earlier findings by Goleman (1995) showed that emotional intelligence (EI) is any underlying personal characteristic
that is not represented by cognitive intelligence. The initial model comprising of five dimensions with twenty-five
emotional intelligence competencies proposed by Goleman (1998). The first dimension is self-awareness whereby an
individual is able to recognise his/her emotions, strengths, weaknesses, goals, motivations, and impact of their emotion
on others. The second dimension is self-regulation that includes recognising, control, and redirects their negative emotions
into more productive or positive purpose. The third dimension is social skills, which include managing relationships with
others and directing others. The fourth dimension is empathy: considers others’ feeling when making decisions. The last
dimension is the motivation, the urge or drive for achievement (Bangun & Iswari ,2015). Later in 2001, Goleman refined
his model into four dimensions with twenty emotional intelligence competencies. The dimensions in the refined model
are self-awareness, self- management, social-awareness, and relationship management (Kanesan & Fauzan, 2019). The
Mixed model of emotional intelligence assimilates the goodness of both competency (ability) and general disposition
(trait). The idea of mixed model is broad-based and good as it is redundant with personality traits Kanesan & Fauzan
(2019).
The use of EI as in self - awareness includes the ability to understand and feel the emotions at the working place.
Mohamad & Jais (2015) identified that reorganization of the feelings and individuals’ emotions at the working place may
create harmony and sense of well- being in the management of any procedure particularly in the educational process.
Hafeez (2018) further emphasized that the first and foremost step to know the positive emotional intelligence (EI) among
the people is to become self-aware of one’s responsibilities which is also called reading of other’s mind with the help of
self-approach.
Okpara & Edwin (2015) strongly affirmed that self- awareness consists of emotional abilities that enable us to be more
effective and form outstanding relationships in the work place and that self- awareness is the ability for one to recognize
his/her emotions and their effects. They revealed that people who are aware of their emotions are more effective as they
recognize and understand their moods, emotions and needs and can perceive and anticipate how their actions affect others.
In addition, people with great certainty about their feelings manage their lives well and are able to direct their positive
feelings towards accomplishing tasks (Okpara & Edwin, 2015).
In relation to the emotional intelligence of a graduate, he or she who is aware of his emotion is more effective in a task
or job Self -management (SM) is one of the critical aspects of the emotional intelligence (EI) domains that determines
how an individuals’ internal mechanism facilitates understanding and effective management of interpersonal relationship.
SM revolves around managing emotions and drives to achieve goals (Ikpesu, 2017). While social awareness, Serrat (2017)
involves sensing others’ feelings and perspective, recognizing and meeting others’ needs and acknowledging people’s
accomplishments. Another more important dimension of EI is the relationship management which as further affirmed by
Krishnan et al., (2018) that it is crucial to have social relationship with the society members and to enhance teamwork
skills is necessary for employment and achieve organization’s goals.
SOFT SKILLS
Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and hard skills that tend to be
specific to a certain type of task or activity. Soft skills include social gracefulness, and fluency in language, personal
habits, friendliness and optimism that mark to varying degrees. Soft skills complement hard skills, which are the technical
requirements of a profession. It can also be an important part of the organization especially if the organization is dealing
with people face to face (Pachauri & Yadav, 2014). Similarly, soft skills help people to adapt and behave positively so
that they can deal with the challenges of their everyday life. In this instance, soft skills relate to a considerable range of
interpersonal and social qualities and competences, transferable across economic sectors and industries (Hurrell, 2016;
Deloitte Access Economics, 2017). Soft skills compete with hard skills in their capacity to predict employability. Majid,
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Eapen, and Aung (2019). In addition, Charlton (2019) asserted that improving soft skills is one of the finest investments
a graduate can make in their future profession. He added that the importance of soft skills relies on considering them an
important part of the employability process.
Many organizations recognize the fact that the technical skills of their employees are not enough to achieve the
organization’s goals, this is why employers of many industries consider soft skills critical for business success ( Stewart
et al., 2016). Soft skills are difficult to measure and evaluate comparing to hard skills (Abujbara & Worley, 2018) but
employers usually prefer to recruit an individual who possesses soft skills in addition to hard skills (Maclachlan, 2019).
Tracing from several institutions, notably the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) have proposed several titles for Soft Skills through history as shown in Table 1 below. Specific
Competences refers to hard skills, whereas Generic Competences refers to soft skills.
Table 1: Different names proposed to define soft skills
Names proposed to define soft skills
Proposed by
Life skills
World Health Organization WHO (1993)
Key competences for lifelong learning
European Union EU (2006)
21st century skills
Ananiadou & Claro (2009)
Future work skills
Institute for the Future IFTF (2010)
Soft Skills for talent
Manpower Group (2014)
Skills for social progress
Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development OECD (2015)
Source: Cinque (2015)
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND EMPLOYABILITY
Earlier findings by Carson & Carson (1988) revealed that emotional intelligence of employees is positively associated
with importance of employment experience and their emotional attachment to their current career and jobs. Goleman
emotional intelligence model in 1998 provided a strong justification for integrating emotional intelligence into any model
of employability as he said that in a time with no assurances of job stability, when the entire notion of a job is fast being
replaced by transferable skills, these are essential traits that make and keep us employable, he says a more descriptive and
newer name can be assigned to them: emotional intelligence, from "personality" and "character" to "competence" to "soft
skills".
According to Fabio & Kenny (2015) given the significance of awareness of one's own and others' emotions, as well as
the requirement for proper expression and management of one's own emotions during an emotionally taxing job search,
EI may be linked to employability and that although job searching is always stressful, it may become even more so if
desirable employment prospects are rare, the authors also mentioned that employers indicate that cooperation skills and
the capacity to operate well in a context of uncertainty and changing responsibilities are essential for the 21st-century
workplace, therefore strong EI may be related with confidence in getting employment among young people.
Later on Matsouka & Mihail (2016) mentioned that it is widely acknowledged that emotional intelligence (EI) is a skill
that companies value in fresh graduates who are likely to be recruited. A total of 79.3 percent of human resource managers
want fresh graduates to have emotional intelligence. Jameson et al., (2016) found that employers prefer graduates with
strong emotional intelligence for employability. The researchers surveyed 500 employers in Ireland's IT/computing,
professional services (including accountancy, business, finance, HR, legal, and retail), science (including pharmaceutical
and life sciences), and social science sectors to learn about their perspectives and opinions of employers on social and
emotional competencies requirements among graduates in these sectors for employability. The findings reveal a gap
between employers' expectations of emotional intelligence and the emotional intelligence held by graduate employees.
The researchers advise graduates to enhance their emotional intelligence in order to fulfil corporate criteria for
employability skills as people's emotional intelligence is also positively linked with significant employment experiences
and emotional attachment to current careers and jobs. Li & Pu (2021) assert that interns who score high on emotional
Proceeding 26th Kuala Lumpur International Business, Economics and Law Conference.
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intelligence have a higher chance of being considered for employment by the internship host organisation than those who
score low. Advocates such as Kaur, Shri & Mital (2019) also agreed that educators want students to graduate with solid
foundation in knowledge and skills which will help them to be productive managers and effective leaders and this can
happen by implementing emotional intelligence (EI) theory and exercise.
EI is a significant aspect that improves capacities for attaining organisational goals and job objectives, as well as
improving collaboration via cooperation and trust (Arfara & Samanta 2016). People with high EI are more capable of
protecting themselves from stressful situations, displaying less aggression, more self-discipline, and more self-esteem,
and they do not have the tendency to harm their mental health, as low emotionally intelligent people do ( Drigas &
Papoutsi, 2020). Additionally, employees that are emotionally intelligent have a more positive outlook, appear more
happy, devoted, and loyal to their profession and organisation, which leads to a more congenial work atmosphere and
improved job performance (Miao et al. 2017). Such emotionally intelligent individuals, contribute to a more productive
work environment by being optimistic even in the face of overwhelming odds, resulting in better levels of job satisfaction,
loyalty, and dedication (Miao et al. 2017). This was confirmed by the Global Talen Trend report which listed emotional
intelligence as one of the top skills employers want in 2021 naming it as a key skill for 2021 (LinkedIn, 2021).
SOFT SKILLS AND EMPLOYABILITY
Nowadays, soft skills are some of the most in-demand skills in any workplace. Recently, employers have placed
increasing attention on the importance of soft skills as evidence suggests that soft skills are an important predictor in
employability (Nazron et al., 2017). Vanitha & Jaganathan (2019) found that graduates with skills like effective
communication, problem solving, time management, team spirit, self-confidence, positive attitude, handling criticism and
flexibility which are known as soft skills as a whole have much better chances of survival in the tough corporate world
compared to those who are lacking in soft skills. Soft skills will not only help an employee stand out in today's more
competitive market, but they will also boost relationships, work performance, and employability growth. Soft skills,
according to new research, are just as productive as professional ones (Balcar et al., 2018)
Monster (2019) revealed that 85 percent of recruiters in the survey took into account the value of soft skills. Recruiters
like to see a good mix of soft skills and competences among job prospects, as well as discipline-based knowledge and
experience, before employing new workers. Employers need employees with great soft skills who can establish a nice
work atmosphere and successfully engage while retaining control (Matteson et al., 2016).
Oussi & Klibi (2017) in Tunisia with a sample of 180 students and the study found a significant relationship between
communication skills and employment. Similarly, Vyas (2019) assert that soft skills are vital requirements and in demand
by hiring organizations . The latter stated within business management students for a better career and that some of the
soft skills required by employers are communication skills, leadership skills, analytical thinking skills, teamwork skills
and problem-solving skills. In addition, employment opportunities increase when students have soft skills and it increases
opportunities to develop a career in a new direction as well as giving the confidence to crack interviews and present
themselves in a better way. Nusrat and Sultana (2019) identified desired soft skills frequently asked by recruiters for
graduates to sustain employment, and found that there is a positive correlation between soft skills and employment in
Bangladesh.
In Tanzania Gerhardt (2019) found that proficiency of soft skills is important towards employability, Final year students
of bachelor degree and postgraduate students showed a positive relationship between teamwork skills and employment.
However, employers often find soft skills deficiency among the job applicants (Johnson, 2016; Roos et al., 2016).
Therefore, soft skills have become one of the needed criteria while hiring employees since soft skills help one to get and
keep employment as well as successfully influence and lead others at work (Rao, 2018). The World Economic Forum
reported that by 2022, at least 54% of all employees would require reskilling and upskilling to keep up with changing job
demands. This is especially crucial in light of the changes brought by Covid-19, which have resulted in significant
adjustments in the available job prospects. Apparently, communication skill, problem solving, analytical thinking skill
and leadership are among the most important skills employers demand (LinkedIn, 2020).
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DISCUSSION & CONCLUSION
Employability termed as a person's beliefs, philosophy, emotions, sense of calling or purpose, unconscious reasons, and
characteristics, according to a researcher in the field of human resource management (Livesey, 2017). It has been argued
that emotional intelligence is a significant predictor of life and professional success because an individual's ability to
distinguish between stimuli and conduct is superior (Karimi, Leggar, fshari, Sarkeshik & Verulava, 2021). Furthermore,
employability is linked to variations in coping mechanisms to include emotional intelligence in behaviour, especially in
a rapidly changing environment. It is fair to state that emotional intelligence (EI) has a direct impact on the entire coping
process (O’Connor et al., 2019). Thus, employability is the key term for this coping strategy.
Although emotional intelligence has been observed as a moderator in a variety of settings, Fteiha & Awwad (2020)
suggested that emotional intelligence plays a significant and positive role in stress and mental health. Kundi and Badar
(2021) advocate that EI has an influence on emotional and behavioural responses to job security. Karimi, Leggat, Bertram,
and Verulava (2021) discovered a similar impact of EI on wellbeing and perceived job stress. The comparative
performance of the individual countries in a global perspective is largely affected by their global economic standing.
Individuals with greater emotional intelligence (EI) exhibit prosocial behaviours, implying that they have acquired the
skills to act correctly in interpersonally challenging situations (Martin-Raught et al., 2016). Furthermore, when hiring
new workers, employers often seek for a particular few soft skill, such as creativity, leadership, critical thinking,
communication, time management, teamwork, and problem solving, (Patacsil & Tablatin, 2017).
Apparently, recruiters like to see a good mix of soft skills and competences among job seekers, as well as discipline-
based knowledge and talents, before recruiting new workers. Employers, on the other hand, frequently discover a lack of
soft skills among job seekers (Johnson, 2016;Roos et al., 2016). Thus, soft skills have become one of the most important
factors to consider when hiring new staff. Obviously, soft skills aid in obtaining and maintaining employment, as well as
successfully influencing and leading people at work (Rao, 2017).Therefore, it is critical to identify the most widely
recognised soft skills required for student employability. For example, at work, everyone engages in communication on
a regular basis. Employees interact with supervisors and clients on a daily, and good communication is critical at all
levels.
Employers feel that communication is one of the most important soft skills to learn since workers are frequently involved
in occupations that demand varying levels of leadership and decision-making ( Patacsil & Tablatin, 2017). Employees
may share their thoughts and knowledge with management through communication, which also helps them interact with
consumers. Communication abilities are said to aid employees in negotiating and networking professionally (Rao, 2017).
Employee-employer relationships are strengthened through effective communication. It minimises misunderstandings
and opens the door to mutually beneficial collaboration and coordination. As a result, one of the most important qualities
that companies look for when hiring new staff is communication which was reported lacking in graduates. The most
common and trending topic on the employment/unemployment ratio of people is based on the soft skills deficiency: the
skills that are required for handling the latest development of industries (Clarke, 2018).
Another soft skill that helps employees succeed in their careers is critical thinking. Employees with critical thinking skills
can operate under pressure, prioritise tasks, and solve problems holistically (Tang, 2018). Critical thinking appears to be
a crucial soft skill for a variety of organisations. Though critical thinking is more closely linked with schooling, it is now
recognised as a crucial component of job success (Zuo et al., 2018)..
The contribution of this paper lies in determining importance of having emotional intelligence competencies as well as
soft skills for the purpose of employment during the CoVid-19 pandemic and the years ahead, emotional intelligence
helps people to be more successful at minimising anxiety and stress, as well as boosting resilience and recovery as despite
the stressful work environment generated by the Covid-19 pandemic (Sadovyy et al., 2021). Workers with high EI have
shown the best levels of job performance and the fewest unproductive work behaviours, compared to those with low EI
who have shown greater levels of stress at work (Sadovyy et al., 2021). This paper clearly shows that the pandemic has
called to light the necessity for structural adjustments, most notably in the area of education. This article puts forward the
need for courses and programs for fostering, developing, and increasing emotional intelligence to be considered at all
levels of education. Emotional intelligence and soft skills, in addition to cognitive and social skills, must be developed.
Proceeding 26th Kuala Lumpur International Business, Economics and Law Conference.
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