Today, the job market is more competitive in an altogether different sense. Along with subject matter expertise, employers are now looking for employability skills as essential traits in their potential employees. 

While it was easier for IT professionals to land jobs — thanks to the mushrooming start-ups — many of them are now finding it difficult to keep their employment or thrive in their roles. 

One reason for this is the ever-changing nature of technology. Technology is evolving every day, and if you are unable to upskill to stay relevant in your industry, you will inevitably fall behind your peers. Another reason that many are experiencing difficulty successfully launching their careers is that employers are now stressing the importance of "employability skills" — skills that go beyond qualifications and experience.

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In this article, we will cover the following topics in detail:

  • What are employability skills?
  • Why are employability skills important? 
  • Top 10 employability skills and ways to improve them

What are Employability Skills?

If you’re asking yourself, “what are employability skills?” STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Network) defines this term as "transferable skills needed by an individual to make them employable." Employability relates to your knowledge, skills, and attitudes, how you use those assets, and how you present them to employers in today's context. 

Today, your education and experience may only be enough to qualify for a job, but to be successful in most roles in the field of emerging technologies, you will need soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These soft skills that will equip you to carry out your role in the company to the best of your ability are also referred to as employability skills. 

The building blocks of any career, these skills are what make you employable across various roles, sectors, and industries. Employers usually want to see that you already have these soft skills before hiring, because they are much harder to teach.

Why are Employability Skills Important? 

These sets of job-readiness skills are, in essence, behaviors that are necessary for every job and are essential attitudes that enable you to grow in your career and also efficiently help you:

  • connect with co-workers
  • solve problems 
  • be a part of and understand your role within the team
  • make responsible choices for your job and your career
  • be independent and take charge of your career 

Personal characteristics, habits, and attitudes influence how you interact with others. Employers value employability skills because they regard these as indications of how you get along with other team members and customers, and how efficiently you are likely to handle your job performance and career success. 

Employers value these unique attributes in their potential employees because they have always been necessary for a productive and smoothly functioning workforce. Enterprises spend a substantial amount of time and money developing these foundational and work-readiness skills. But in today's world, where jobs are limited, employers enjoy more options and would like to hire a technical expert who also displays well-rounded employability skills. 

Simplilearn, as one of the world's leading eLearning platforms, puts immense emphasis on developing these employability skills or soft skills in learners. Realizing that skill gaps are fast expanding, Simplilearn has made employability skills training an essential part of their training programs

Top 10 Employability Skills and How to Improve Employability Skills 

STEMNET has compiled a collection of what top recruiters like Accenture, Siemens, and Nokia, refer to as the top 10 ten employability skills employers look for. These are the strengths and qualities that a company would expect you to have when you appear for the job interview. It is equally important for you to draft an effective resume listing the right skills you have for the job. In fact, you should learn how to let your employers know that you possess these skills in your resume or during the interview. 

Here are the top 10 employability skills that employers are looking for in the current job market, and different ways to improve employability skills.

1. Communication and Interpersonal Skills

The ability to express your ideas and opinions clearly and to explain what you want to achieve without ambiguity

This includes listening and understanding and acting upon what others are saying or instructing.

Improvement Tip: Write reports and assignments regularly as part of your studies.

2. Problem-Solving Skills

The ability to think logically and find solutions to setbacks

Improvement Tip: Enroll in a course that focuses on problem-solving.

3. Self-Motivation

The ability to come up with new ideas and solutions and display enterprising capabilities to do things on your own without being instructed

Improvement Tip: Approach organizations for work placements or internships.

4. Working under Pressure

The ability to deliver the best performance within deadlines without buckling under work stress 

Improvement Tip: Balance time around work, study, and family commitments.

5. Organizational skills

A systematic approach to work that emphasizes planning every move to meet deadlines

Improvement Tip: Help to organize an office/community event.

6. Team Spirit

The ability to work well with other people from different backgrounds, disciplines, and expertise to accomplish a task or goal 

Improvement Tip: Join a team or do group assignments. 

7. Learning Skills

Your desire to learn and understand new things is an essential skill-set in the tech world today where skill gaps are appearing quickly, and upskilling is inevitable.

Improvement Tip: Take up a new hobby or learn new skills.

8. Number and Data Skills

The ability to use data to demonstrate a point

Improvement Tip: Use graphs and tables to prove your point.

9. Value Diversity

People in modern workplaces come from different backgrounds. Learning to work with people of different ages, religions, and political opinion is essential for your career progress.

Improvement Tip: Volunteer to work in another department.

10. Negotiation Skills

The ability to work towards a win-win outcome where you can make objective decisions after listening to the opinions of all stakeholders

Improvement Tip: Practice negotiation in daily life.

How to Find Your Employability Skills?

All of us already have some employability skills that we have to identify. Here are some ways to identify your employability skills - 

  1. List down the activities that you do every day like study, work, read, extracurricular activities, etc. This will give you an idea of what you are good at, for example, if you enjoy studying and reading, then you will naturally be good at research work hence, it becomes an employable skill that you already have. Moreover, if you are also good at sports, then you already have problem solving and leadership skills in you. 
  2. Each activity you do in a day is related to some responsibility that redirects you to some employability skills. For each activity you listed down, mention the responsibilities against it. 
  3. Compile the list of employability skills and add them to your portfolio. 

While you should keep up your focus on earning industry-recognized certificates or upskilling to learning new technologies to stay employable, also consider developing and improving your soft skills, including the 10 employability skills. Simplilearn offers discounts on technical courses that focus on developing employability skills. Enroll in one today.

FAQs

1. What are 4 employability skills?

The most popular 4 employability skills are - 

  1. Communication Skills 
  2. Strategic Thinking 
  3. Emotional Intelligence
  4. Problem Solving 

2. What are employability skills and examples?

Doing a job requires a bunch of skills and not all of them are related to your technical skill set. Some basic non-technical skills are required to work effectively in a professional space. The skills are called the soft skills, example - team work, communication skills, leadership skills, problem solving skills etc. 

3. What is considered the most important skill in the workplace?

The most important skill in a workplace is to be able to communicate effectively. Communication is the key to success. This employability skill is required by people of all fields. 

4. How do I know my skills?

It is really easy to identify your skills. If you have work experience, then all you have to do is, make a list of all the things you do at work and map them to the list of employability skills. If you are  fresher, then make a list of activities that you do in a day, and the responsibilities you are accountable for. This will leave you with a unique list of employability skills.

About the Author

Karin KelleyKarin Kelley

Karin has spent more than a decade writing about emerging enterprise and cloud technologies. A passionate and lifelong researcher, learner, and writer, Karin is also a big fan of the outdoors, music, literature, and environmental and social sustainability.

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