Employability and Professional Development
Employability is the capability of an individual to be initially employed, continue being employed and get a new employment when needed. However the definition has to take into account the fact that employability relies on the labour market more than the capacities of each worker. The classical definition of employability therefore seems to blame the victim for not demonstrating a capacity to handle a job when in actual reality there are only a limited number of jobs available. On the other hand, an interpretation of the definition of employability might be that given the scarcity of jobs, those who are able to manoeuvre the competition and emerge as the most suitable for the job are deemed to be more employable than the others.
According to Weinert (2001), the development of worker’s employability is dependent on the development prospects of the organization and its environment and the needs of the workers for personal development. While most of the initiatives and procedures of evaluating skills rest with the employer, a worker is still expected to voluntarily dedicate effort to become suitable. Organizations have different tools for evaluating a worker’s competencies including, assessment of occupation orientation, competencies portfolios indicating the worker’s knowledge of what she or he can do, skill referential s that indicate the difference of the requirement of a job post and the actual skills possessed by the worker at the given time.
An individual’s employability is affected by the employability of others. When everyone has a degree, then the possession of the degree is only a ticket for the individual to still fit as a candidate for the job. Employability is not only about having the requirements of a given job but about knowing the chances one has for the job compared to other job seekers. In view of this dependence of an individual’s employability on the employability of others then the true definition of employability as defined by Brown, Hesketh & Williams (2002) is the “relative chance of finding and maintaining different kinds of employment”.
Employability in the Business Environment
Business leaders and politicians remind us that in order to be efficient as a nation we have to be knowledgeable, skilled and have the capabilities that employers seek in the knowledge economy. National government are no longer able to guarantee job placement in a competitive environment where workers are becoming abundant. A worker’s employability undergoes examination at the hiring moment, during the work contract and at the time of dismissal (Weinert et al. (eds.) 2001).
The more a business is knowledge driven, the higher its dependence on the employability as the sole competitive edge in the market. Employability is a replacement of the bureaucratic career structures that employers used to evaluate their workers. The elimination of bureaucratic career structures makes organizations lean and flat. As a result, these organizations undergo a number of restructurings that make employees surplus or change the skill mix of different jobs in the organization. It is advisable that employees to match their competencies with the requirements of the industry so that they remain employable in their current organization or in other organizations in case they are considered a surplus in their current jobs (Drucker 1993).
The dynamics of the global economy have made the notion of job redundancy extend from semi-skilled and unskilled workers to cover managers and other professionals. According to Drucker (1993), employability is a shift of power in the global capitalism. People are less motivated to commit to one organization for a lifetime and instead have the energy and entrepreneurial spirit that drives them to explore more opportunities. Organizations that depend on the skills of these workers are there at the mercy of the workers who have the knowledge, skills and insights desired by the organization.
As people move away from long-term company careers, they enjoy more economic freedom. As a result, young workers are able to bypass organizational hierarchies and obtain senior management jobs while still in their thirties. Although companies put a premium on intellectual capital of important employees to be the drivers of innovation and value additions that gives the company a competitive advantage, the actual organizational environment has a majority of the workers depending on average skills to perform most of their occupational tasks.
In terms of graduate employability, it is worth noting that the influx of graduates in the labour market is constant. Most graduates enter the labour market with heavy debt from student loans and believe that they deserve better payment so as to repay their student debts. The extent of the belief that the higher your professional qualifications the higher your pay depends on the number of people having the same qualifications who are interested in the same jobs and the number of jobs available. Therefore, the employability of a graduate increases with further education, as long as the competition in the labour market does not increase their qualifications (Brown, Hesketh & Williams 2002).
As individuals, more importantly graduates, increase their employability on certain jobs, they diminish their employability for other jobs. The career choice taken specifies a person’s employability on that field and technically shuts out the person from becoming employable in other fields. Therefore when making a choice of becoming employable in a given field, it is important to note that one is cutting off the options of getting employment in other professions.
A Case for Personal Development
Increasing ones employability in a given field has the effect of reducing one’s employability in the same field but on lower levels where one is seen to be over qualified. Personal development one of the ways of ensuring that one remains employable. Employability of an individual is traced to the ability of the individual and their will to modify their qualifications to fit the current demands inside the organization or on the external employment market (Drucker 1993).
In reference to the social theory, employability is an individualization of the worker selection process in an increasing serve economy that encompasses economic, political and social changes (Gonon et al. (eds.) 2008). In personal reference, the understanding of where I am in terms of employability to my professional position of choice, gives me an upper hand to position adequately my presentation to fit the employers requirement for specific jobs.
Employers want an employee who adapts to the changing state of the organizational environment and refocuses their core competencies to deliver solutions for moving the organization closer to its goals. With the improvement of my personal performance am able to demonstrate that I fit this criteria. My ability to breakdown my obstacles or problems and pinpoint solutions will come in handy for any employer seeking a key skill in tackling dynamic challenges in the organization. I have accomplished a personal analysis of my qualities and can present potential employers with references to where I used the given quality to produce positive change. This is certain to increase my employability by demonstrating to employers that in addition to the required skill, I have the necessary quality to ensure that work delivery is in accordance to the employer’s expectation and that in case of unforeseen difficulties, am able to navigate with minimal assistance.
I understand my weaknesses and strength areas of my personality and will only position myself to be appointed for jobs that can fully employ my personality strengths and require little or no skills in areas that I show a personality weakness. In addition, I will be seeking additional skill training so that I improve on the areas where am weak so that the weakness does not become a disadvantage in consideration of other people’s employability. By coming up with priorities for personal development in line with my career goals, I feel more confident in my employability. I understand that with the right skill and quality mix I stand a chance of negotiating with a potential employer on the compensation of my job such that I will be okay in terms of social status and be able to reap the financial benefits of my employability. Setting priorities for personal development has given me a morale boost to face the challenge of kick starting my career. I now allocate the importance of each activity I engage in according to its relevancy to my career objective and what the activity adds to my personal development (Verhaar & Smulders 1999).
To sum up, my understanding of the increasing role of knowledge in the creation of wealth by organization and my contribution to an organizational success through my appropriate application of skills and competencies, serves as my encouragement to continue in my personal development.
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