Employability and Professional Development
A thorough understanding of the level we are in our career development, and an analysis of the capacities we have allows us to construct a professional development path that will catapult us to the desired position of our career goal. In our assessment, we recognize what we have already achieved and this motivates us to achieve more. Employability of an individual is determined by the degree of the employability of other individuals in the same job category. Therefore, the employability of a graduate entering the job market for the first time depends on the existing employability of the current workers in the job applied. Additionally the employability of other similar job seekers is also a factor. Moreover, the current economic situation and the capacity of the specific organization to increase its workforce play a role. To remain in the race for a job the individual has to match the qualification of other applicants. In order to stand a chance of being appointed, the individual has to demonstrate a significant advantage over others on their ability to perform on the workplace in addition to costing within the allocated expense threshold of the organization (Little 2011).
While the employability evaluation task mostly lies with the employer, who devices several mechanisms and programs to determine and evaluate each worker, an individual is required to voluntarily conduct a personal assessment and present in an appropriate manner their employability to potential employers. The workplace environment is evolving and workers no longer have to rely on one employer to achieve their career objective. Instead, an individual can rapidly climb the career ladder using different employers by increasing their employability and being aggressive in demonstrating the benefits of their employment to the organization. As a result, many people in their thirties now have senior management positions that could not be earned if the individuals depended on the single organization career progression through promotions (Little 2011).
Economic power in the global environment is evolving thanks to technological progress. In line with the technological progress, more emphasis is put on the knowledge of the worker and their ability to manipulate the knowledge creatively to create more value. Information and knowledge are now the most important inputs of economic development; the two inputs have surpassed the key role of goods and labour (Romaniuk & Snart 2000). Organizations are moving from permanent employment to temporary employment of workers and this has meant that no worker is guaranteed of job security anymore. Employment now depends on the ability to deliver on the tasks assigned and in case of employment; one has to demonstrate this ability through their credentials and experience as well, as how they would tackle hypothetical challenges (Drucker 1993).
Work has now become more intellectual in that other than involving redundant transactional activities, it now involves dynamic roles of identifying and solving problems by having the knowledge and applying it appropriately. This has led to the combination of work previously designed for a single specialist or generalist. Higher education is becoming more important for workers, however a key qualification is the lifelong learning that maintains a person’s flexibility and makes the person capable of staying relevant in the changing environment. The success of a worker or a potential worker is now recognized as the ability of the worker to demonstrate their competency at adapting to the changing organizational environment (Romaniuk & Snart 2000).
Higher education and specifically foundation degrees give students an opportunity and an enhanced understanding of employability and knowledge. Students learn that they possess knowledge about the expected work in their career and this raises their self-esteem. The knowledge of their professional development allowed students to examine their various work activities in relation to the positions they would like to occupy when they are eventually employed. Therefore, students apply specific techniques like financial planning and marketing on their daily workplace practices so that they can demonstrate to employers their competencies and do so in a confident way.
Employers’ care more about how well a worker performs in the workplace than what the qualifications of the worker demonstrate what the worker can do. However, without a prior experience of working with a new worker, employers have to rely on the qualifications of the potential worker to determine their employability. In cases where workers are studying while already employed, very few employers acknowledge workers efforts to improve their skills by enrolling in further studies. If the additional knowledge increases the worker productivity and their employability then the employer is likely to acknowledge the workers work based on their employability and not their improved academic qualification. Therefore, further education training while working has an indirect effect of increasing workers employability but does not guarantee this increase in employability. Workers and students alike must review their intentions to pursue further education carefully to evaluate if the further training will be appropriate in appropriating them necessary knowledge to boost their employability (Romaniuk & Snart 2000).
The lack of a direct acknowledgement of the employability of a worker in the work place after undergoing further training implies that more needs to be done by employers in allocating tasks to make use of the increased knowledge of their workers. However even without the employers’ recognition, further training boosts the employees’ confidence and allows them to perform efficiently and faster their day-to-day tasks of the workplace. This self-confidence does not guarantee an improvement in the overall organizational productivity and performance. To be able to make use of the on-going increase in the employability of their workers, organizations are resorting to in-work regular assessments.
Professional development is now more than just adding to the range of skills of a workforce. Instead, it entails a review of the workplace practice and the structures in place to make use of the employee skills and knowledge more efficiently and effectively. Higher education and organizations are collaborating more to ensure that academic and work-based learning are blended to benefit from the employers understanding of the workplace practices and organizational culture. This improves the employees’ confidence and prompts them to advocate for appropriate work practices that will utilize their knowledge best, employees also become more aware of the relevancy of their skills according to the objectives of the organization. To maintain their employability even in recessions, employees learn the importance of their knowledge and align it to the employer’s approach of workforce development. This indicates that employees, both current and potential, are devoting more efforts to the selective targeting of their training needs (Verhaar & Smulders 1999).
The increased need to remain employable and the increased influx of new people to the workforce yearly has propelled an increase in the use of various in-house trainings. In addition, workers prefer to minimize their learning costs by using public subsidies for training, opting to go for training that takes a shorter time. Training institutions such as university as also recognizing this need and have programmes that deliver learning units in bite-sized chunks to accommodate the busy schedule of employees and that of employers. The degree of success of the chunked training in affecting career confidence has yet to be verified.
The knowledge of the importance of professional development in increasing one’s employability will greatly influence my positioning of various personal development initiatives so that I fit the desired profile for my target career. I understand the role my current involvement plays in building my professional profile, therefore am more active in my involvement of relevant activities that show the strength of my knowledge and qualities. For example, I take note of each incident in my daily routines that highlights my team skills and demonstrates my leadership so that later I can come up with a personal portfolio presentable to employers that highlights my employability. I am aware of the relevancy of my knowledge in comparison with the competition and I constantly seek to upgrade my knowledge and experience to be at par with the required industry standard so that I am not redundant in the employment market place.
In addition of the current degree am studying, I intend to acquire additional qualifications and qualities to increase my employability by taking short courses relevant to my career that are offered by organizations in the industry. I am also cautious that I do not become overly employable on a specific position in my career and completely unemployable in other positions. Such an eventuality is not desirable because it renders one completely redundant should changes in the economy render the ideal career position obsolete. The strategy I use is to be relevant without compromising my career safety position.
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