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How’s your “Employability Score"

Few would argue that today’s employment market is different to that of the past. The great recession of 2008, combined with the continued trend towards globalization, mean that for many people the concept of “job for life” is dead. Today’s workers know that the chances of them having the same role, or even the same employer, throughout their career has dropped, and changing jobs is a reality many professionals will have to face one or more times in their careers.

For some changing jobs may be relatively easy. If you’re working in an expanding sector or have solid experience in the latest hot trend, the demand for employees may be outstripping supply. While the lucky few may be in such a position, those in the mainstream majority are not. Although those in the majority may have good solid experience that is of value in their current role, should their current role disappear, it would be harder for them to translate their experience into something of value elsewhere. Some may have become specialized in a small niche that isn’t easily transferable to another position, while others may be more generalists whose lack of specialized knowledge means they are a poor fit for roles offered in the marketplace. Should the need to move positions arise such people may have trouble finding a suitable opportunity. Whether it be making a lateral move within the organization or finding a new role with a different employer, many people are becoming nervous about the challenge such a move may involve.

That nervousness is being compounded by the shifting realities of the global economy. As the economies of the world continue to mature and integrate, workers in all countries are facing a common set of questions. What can I do to remain relevant in a changing economy? What can I do to not just survive, but also to thrive in my career? In my twenties and thirties it may have been easy to find a new role, but will it be as easy once I’m in my forties, fifties or even sixties? The answers to those questions and the follow through actions that working professionals take, can spell the difference between lifelong productive employment and a struggling career interspersed with periods of career stress, underemployment or even unemployment.

Proactive professionals recognize that staying relevant is a lifelong effort. It means gaining ever-increasing levels of skill and experience. It means staying up to date with trends, technologies and developments. It means keeping your eyes open, building professional connections and broadening horizons. Settling into a comfort zone and staying there may no longer be an option and those with the skills and capabilities demanded by employers are those who will survive, thrive and drive the future economy.

To remain relevant working professions need to think about their “employability”. If my current role were to disappear how easy would it be for me to move into a new role? Although we may not consciously recognize it we all have an “employability score”. Your employability score is a measure of how easy (or difficult) it would be to find a new role should the need arise. The higher your score the easier it would be for you to find a role you really wanted. The lower your score, the more trouble you would have and the greater the chances that you might be facing a period of unemployment or the need to take a role that is significantly below what you are used to.

For the purposes of discussion we might quantify the “employability score” on a scale 1 to 5:

1 – I would find it very hard to get another job. My skills are either too specialized that they aren’t relevant to the current job market or I’ve never developed the types of skills that might make it easy to land a new role (either within my current organization or externally if need be). If I lose my current role I would find it very difficult to land a new one at the same level of responsibility or income level. 2 – I likely could find another job, but it might take a significant amount of time and I might be facing extended periods of unemployment, which could potentially mean I have to take a role below what I am used to. 3 – I have skills and capabilities that would appeal to other employers, but I would have to work hard at finding a new role. 4 – I would find it relatively easy to get a new role, but I might have to take what was on offer rather than selecting something that I really wanted. 5 – People are already offering me roles. If need be, I could have a new role in just a few days. I have the option of choosing roles that are of interest to me rather than being forced to take what is on offer.

Some working professionals are mindful of their employability score and make a conscious effort to keep theirs up. Others may have settled into their comfort zone, done the job, taken the paycheck and quietly forgotten about the investment needing to be made if they are to keep up with everyone else. While they may get lucky and the need to change roles never comes up, today’s economy can bite when you least expect it. A merger, a restructuring, out-sourcing, a new leader with a different vision, changing technologies or shifting markets can all mean an unpleasant surprise awaits those who are ill prepared. The recognition of that risk is the driver that leads the proactive to take a hands-on approach to their career development. They remain attuned to the needs of their current employer but also keep an eye on the broader job market as a whole. They invest in selfdevelopment and recognize that learning is a lifelong journey not a one-time deal. The realization of that risk (e.g. being laid-off and struggling to find a new role) is the jarring awakening that kicks the more reactive into action. Leaving them in a position of weakness, those with a low employability score often only recognize the risks they were taking when faced with a crisis. For some that may come after years of career neglect and catching up to the demands of modern employers and the other candidates in the job market can be a steep hill up which to climb. No matter whether you’re a proactive or reactive person, when the realization hits, you’ll need to strategize how to attain a higher employability score. Doing that requires us to align our personal skills development efforts with the needs, wants and expectations of employers. There is little point in perfecting a skill that no one wants or taking an approach to professional development that is out of tune with modern thinking.

Doing that requires that we recognize that the job market is changing. In the old economy, academic credentials and years in the role were used as barometers of employability. As long as you could present yourself relatively professionally in a job interview, having the right credentials and the prerequisite years of experience in a related role, might be enough to get you the job. In today’s job market academic credentials still matter, but in many nations employers are becoming more selective in who they hire. Looking for people with the right “fit”, employers are increasingly focusing on skills and work style in addition to paper-based credentials. Furthermore, while academic learning is good, can you translate that into meaningful action in the workplace? Can you deliver value for the organization and can you function as a productive member of a team? Knowledge is a good starting point, but not a final destination. Employers want people who can translate knowledge into applied skill and “results achieved” is becoming the measure of success by which professionals are judged and employability scored.

That message is reinforced when you talk to senior managers and CEO’s. If you ask them about what they want from their employees, you’ll often find that answers are relatively simple and consistent. Often their answers link back to one simple idea; they want people who can deliver positive results and who can do so with minimal support. At the most elemental level they want people who can take on an activity and deliver results without the need for handholding or guidance. They want people with the initiative to overcome problems rather than a tendency to create problems and increasingly there is a movement towards hiring people who are team workers rather than prima donnas or solo stars. In essence they want people who can be assigned an activity and who through their own efforts can “get things organized” and “make things happen”. Given the complexity of modern organizations and the often challenging nature of dealing with stakeholders it takes a broad “portfolio of skills” to do that. However that is what employers want and hence the goal towards which those trying to attain a high employability score need to strive.

To be precise, in today's scenario where "Graduates are over supplied and under prepared" there is a serious need of continuous Skill Enhancement Cell in educational institutes where he or she can opt the career of choice & gain employable skills depending on their interest.

At Texvyn Technologies we conduct various skill enhancement program, which benefit graduate engineers to find relevant job of their interest & keep them updated with latest development in their field.

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