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23.03.2012 | Autor: http://www.liv.ac.uk/

Employability skills have been defined after extensive collaboration with employers. What are they and what do they mean?

Researchers at the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) talked to recruiters – thousands of them – over a period of several years. They wanted to discover the key generic employability skills that employers from the majority of job sectors looked for when recruiting new employees, to decode the system, to unearth the core components of what it really takes to make a graduate ‘employable’. Fortunately for us, they succeeded.

In a survey of 500 recruiters, 64 per cent said that when hiring graduates, employability skills were more important than any specific occupational, technical or academic knowledge gained from the graduate’s degree. In other words, for the majority of graduate recruiters, it’s not what you’ve studied that makes you an attractive proposition, it’s what else you can bring to the organisation: skills, attitude, energy, insight, potential for development, and the evervaluable willingness to make a good cup of tea.

The secret of employability
According to the CBI, true employability depends on mastering four essential skills:

  • Self-reliance skills;
  • People skills;
  • General employment skills; and
  • Specialist skills.

These skills are the building blocks of your career. None of them are subject specific. Think about what they might actually mean for you – and how you can go about developing them. These skills can be developed anywhere: sports, travel, work experience, hobbies, voluntary work and part-time jobs.

The CBI defines this further:

  • Self-reliance –  self-management, readiness to accept responsibility, flexibility, resilience, time management
  • People skills – teamwork, communication skills, listening and questioning, respecting others, contributing to discussions
  • General employment skills – problem solving, literacy, application of numeracy

  • Specialist skills – business and customer awareness, application of information technology

These skills are often referred to as "transferable" meaning that they are applicable across a range of academic disciplines as well as in employment.  Read our guide "How to develop and demonstrate the skills recruiters look for" for more.

Underpinning all these attributes, the key foundation, must be a positive attitude: a ‘can-do’ approach, a readiness to take part and contribute, openness to new ideas and a drive to make these happen.

Frequently mentioned by both employers and universities isentrepreneurship/enterprise: broadly, an ability to demonstrate an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking

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