By Sunil Dahiya
With rapid globalisation and digital requirements transcending borders, the global economy has been demanding workers to be innovative, adapt to rapid changes in technology and job requirements and have the requisite skills sets to be employable. According to World Bank calculations, more than two billion working-age adults are not equipped with the essential employable skills required by employers. Among young adults under the age of 25, the number is about 420 million worldwide.
Employability skills, also known as soft skills, is a hot button topic in the skilling domain. While vocational and technical skills are essential and can be honed, the employers are looking for skills that go beyond qualifications and experience such as collaborating with others, presenting ideas and communicating with team members leading to a productive, collaborative and healthy work environment. According to The International Labour Organisation World Employment and Social Outlook report, to become employable, it is essential to have a right set of skills to earn a job and manage it properly; look for better opportunities.
My top-5 employability skills that cater to the increasing interpersonal nature of the modern workplace and the new-age consumer are:
1. Communication Skills- Right communication skills are an essential part of any job. They are not job-specific but play an important role to enhance productivity and ensure advancement in career. Depending on the job requirements, one needs to be skilled in verbal, written or visual communication with varying degree of intensity. For example, in a customer-centric role, an employee needs to have excellent verbal and written communication skills to ensure that the customer requirements are understood, and the solution adequately communicated.
2. Creative Thinking- Sometimes, looking at a problem differently can bring up a solution that can positively impact the organisation. Employers are constantly looking at innovative, fresh and unorthodox ways to tackle challenges and problems to augment capacity, efficiency and productivity.
3. Digital literacy- Demand for digital literacy is a pre-requisite, and this has become all the more important in COVID-19 times. Jobs that require digital literacy are not limited to technology companies and profiles. Digitally literate students have the confidence to access online information and interact on social networks. They also have the knowhow on authorship rules like copyright and plagiarism, which can be extremely beneficial for any organisation.
4. Problem-solving- As per various reports on employability skills, more than 60% of recruiting professionals identify problem-solving as a key skill that spurs a hiring decision. Employers are constantly looking for people who have innovative and logical thinking skills to tackle new problems and challenges and streamline processes. The very importance of problem solving lies in the fact that it is inextricably linked to decision making and hence impacts almost all the functions within an organisation.
5. Customer centricity- Employers highly value this skill as it brings to the table the ability to empathise and adjust business needs from the viewpoint of the customer and directly impact the bottom line. This skill is important to provide a pleasant experience to the customer by being able to comprehend the customer query, aligning the right set of colleagues who can handle the query, reverting to the customer within the required time-frame and soliciting his/her satisfaction.
The author is the Executive Vice President at Wadhwani Foundation.