I often quote the words of Wayne Gretzky the famous ice hockey player when describing everlasting employability. Wayne said the secret to his success, was skating to where the puck was going. This equally describes everlasting employability. On the face of it the secret to everlasting employability is obvious – it’s about having a set of skills the marketplace wants to buy. It is about being relevant, not just in the here and now, but in tomorrow’s marketplace. That said, you are taking a calculated risk, picking skills you think will be required by employers in the future. Just think about VHS video, the Blackberry and Nokia mobile phone all at one point essential but today obsolete.
For success in any career, you need a positive attitude to learning for both professional and personal development and each of us is responsible for our lifelong learning. Self-investment is essential.
Achieving aspirations at work requires that you be aware of changing industry trends and focus on building the capabilities needed to align your ambition with organisational success. This enables a competitive edge over other professionals and employability throughout your working life.
Working on employability is a vital part of an individual’s growth and progression. Think in terms of self-improvement, which focuses on building your awareness, knowledge, and skills, anything from developing an existing strength or fulfilling personal aspirations to learning a new skill – all will boost your continuing professional development record.
In our volatile, complex, and fast-paced world it is clear that ‘soft’ or ‘transferable’ skills are increasingly cited as crucial to forge a successful career.
Skills are also often defined as ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ to distinguish the transferrable personal skills or attributes needed for work that enable individuals to be effective in managing their career and development, and technical or job-specific skills, which are more specifically related to jobs within particular sectors.
Teamwork, confidence, communication, creativity, and problem solving are often cited as the top skills and competencies sought by employers. Researchers believe that employability skills are not confined to a set of skills and competencies that makes one employable, but extends to skills that help with job search, career decision-making and career management (Koen et al. 2012; Neary et al. 2016).
When we talk about employability, we mean the ‘qualities and attitudes’ needed to become employable – such as confidence, resilience, initiative, self-motivation and ambition. Sadly, the educational system in the UK doesn’t emphasise employability. Research has found that students overwhelmingly thought they were being prepared to pass exams rather than developing skills for their future career or preparing for the workplace (Career Colleges Trust, 2015).
Ensuring employability and pursuing professional and personal development is an individual responsibility. A good employer will enable and encourage development and offer opportunities to expand and broaden your career but do not rely on your employer.
Most importantly set time aside to focus on you and your career, have a career plan, review it regularly and focus on employability to ensure you can thrive in a workplace impacted by unprecedented pandemic-related changes as well as the significant changes wrought by automation, globalisation, and socio-economic challenges.
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