All posts by Yuliya Renko

Measuring individual employability

Successful integration into the labour market to a great extent depends on the ability to give objective self-evaluation of who you are as a potential employee. In other words, the very first step for people looking for job opportunities would be to measure self-employability.  Seems to be quite easy to do, considering that you are supposed to make qualitative analysis of your own skills you are pretty well aware of.  Let’ s make a quick experiment:  take a piece of paper and write one by one all skills you have gained, certificates awarded and diplomas received by now. If you decided to try it, you would probably need at least one more extra piece of paper and would finally have a really impressive image of who you are and what you can do. Now  put the paper aside or crumple it up because, unfortunately, this list is not the best way of identifying the level of your employability, and I will give you a couple of reasons for it.

Living in a knowledge-driven economy with intellectual power as the main engine, we could assume that higher-skilled workers besides having a wider range of job opportunities also have a right to choose the best one out of them rather than waiting for being chosen. However, the truth is that the level of education is not correlated with the employment opportunities. With an increased number of Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. students the level of competitiveness among job candidates has grown to such an extent that an educational degree is now seen as a tic in your CV rather than a significant achievement. Thus, by getting a higher degree, in addition to valuable knowledge and skills, you get a formal ‘advantage’ to find a job compared with those with a lower level of education.

The skills you have diligently been developing over a long period of time within your studies or at a previous workplace are not necessarily the skills employers are looking for. To match employers’ expectations of you as a potential candidate for a job position is a challenging task to do. You may be a good example of how all three types of skills (foundational, transferrable and technical-vocational) are combined together, but get an unsatisfactory response at the end of the interview in the form of “unfortunately, you are not the person we need for this position”. You would probably ask “What kind of person do you need then?” Targeting at financial benefits or other forms of profits organizations predominantly look for ready-workers, those who are able to start accomplishing their professional duties right on the next day after being hired. Another reason that may surprise you most is that some of your valuable qualities such as creativity, ability to justify your point of view, influence others, readiness to make a change may be in a list of undesirable personal characteristics the presence of which would put in question managerial approaches practiced by the employer.

In addition to the mentioned above reasons of why evaluation of your own employability may be a relatively complicated process to go through, there are many other points to think of. Keeping the balance between your own interests and preferences of potential employers could possibly turn into a game in which you are unlikely to get a golden medal. I guess that by defining employability as “the relative chances of acquiring and maintaining different kinds of employment”(Brown, Hesketh & Williams, 2003, p. 111) researchers made a great effort to represent the whole complexity of the concept.

P.S. Regardless of any challenges you face always stay positive! You are the one who knows for sure who you really are.

 

Reference

Brown, P., Hesketh, A., & Williams, S. (2003). Employability in a knowledge-driven economy. Journal of education and work, 16(2), 107-126. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/1363908032000070648