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Can employability skills make you stand out in the crowd?

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Completing a qualification at an institution of higher learning can give you a head start in your career. However, you will be on the same playing field as other equally qualified graduates with the same or similar mix of qualifications.

What will make you stand out in the crowd or catch a prospective employer’s attention?

It is your employability, the mix of skills and competencies that is unique to you, that will make you future fit in today’s job market and in the future of work. One might even say your unique personal brand creates your employability.  One may switch to a different job over a period of time or even remain in the same job, yet these employability skills once acquired are transferable and are able to be applied in most situations.

A definition of employability that lends itself well to an understanding of this concept in higher education is “a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy.” Yorke, M. (2004), Employability in higher education: what it is – what it is not, The Higher Education Academy/ESECT.

There has been a marked shift from the skills required in 2015, 2020 to the skills required in 2025.

The World Economic Forum Future of Work Report 2020 lists the Top Ten Skills required for the Future of Work. Some of these skills listed are reasoning, problem solving and ideation, analytical thinking and innovation, complex problem solving, leadership and social influence, creativity, originality and innovation.  These are the employability skills that once acquired are transferable and applicable to most situations.

COVID-19 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have propelled us very quickly into the Future of Work making the need for us to acquire these skills even more critical.  “Human ingenuity is at the root of all shared prosperity. As the frontier between the work tasks performed by humans and those performed by machines and algorithms shifts, we have a short window of opportunity to ensure that these transformations lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all”. WEF (2020). The Future of Work Report.

Inge Fisher, Human Resources, RBS

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