Employability of graduates is an increasing issue in society. How can graduates and employers both improve the future employability for the benefit of both society and businesses in general?
Employability is the behaviours, skills and attributes applied to create, cope with and enjoy change and innovations leading to personal fulfilment and organisational effectiveness (Crayford and Fearon et al., 2012, pp. 187--193). Employability encompasses personal initiative, functional flexibility and career mobility (Crayford and Fearon et al., 2012, pp. 187--193). In the current global economic climate, employability has become an increasing pressure for the higher education system with high unemployment, skills shortage, employer demand and government policy as key issues (Huq and GILBERT, 2013, pp. 4--4). Higher education institutions have been charged with developing the necessary behaviours, skills and knowledge for the contemporary workplace (Crayford and Fearon et al., 2012, pp. 187--193). In recent times, there have been shifts in attitudes towards employment and career progression due to the turbulent economic times. This has supported the need for continual personal and professional development. The current employment market has seen less permanent employment and more concept “portfolio” and “intelligent” career paths (Crayford and Fearon et al., 2012, pp. 187--193). The jobs market is under going structural change resulting in changing working patterns and therefore changing recruiting patterns.
Research has shown that organisations expect that the education system, including schools, the VET sector and universities, are the key to building employability skills of graduates (Gibb, 2004). When employers test for employability of new workers, many large and small to medium indicated that interviews were one of the measures at the point of application for a job (Gibb, 2004). In this regard, it has been noted that there has been a gap that the higher education institutes need to reduce by equipping young graduates with the essential skills to be employable (Clarke, 1997, pp. 177--183). The modern concepts of “graduate level jobs” for university graduates have grossly affected the perceptions of a linear career path (Clarke, 1997, pp. 177--183). Students have preconceived notions about the diversity of work, smaller enterprises and freelance work. This has lead to employers demanding different developmental studies for students in the hope that they will engage in and possess more preferable employability skills (Crayford and Fearon et al., 2012, pp. 187--193). Many students currently attending higher education institutions view themselves as customers of the universities and consumers within tertiary education. Expectations of these students have increased for the university providing them with an education and a degree, to preparing them for a future career, with an emphasis on the need for a strong resume based on a combination of skills, work experience and academic background (Crayford and Fearon et al., 2012, pp. 187—193). Current graduates are seen to have an increased entrepreneurial mind-set. This state of mind has been noted as beneficial as an aspect of employability for larger organisation as well as increasing opportunities for self-employment being more realistic and achievable for recent graduates (Crayford and Fearon et al., 2012, pp. 187--193). Young graduates need to be able to make employers see what value they can add to an organisation. Both Samantha Cran and Lily Wong noted the benefits of internships as part of the higher education system. Cran suggested volunteering for charity organisations, and joining clubs and societies while at university to increase the skills that can be listed on a resumé. Wong expressed the importance of having a good attitude while interning or volunteering for an organisation. Both of these women noted the increasing importance of internships as part of a good resumé...
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