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Employability Essay

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Employability Skills

Introduction:

It is highly accepted that the employees should have skills and potential that can enable them to ensure their growth and development within the organization. Further, the growth of company could also provide. But it is considerable that every job determines a different kind of roles and responsibilities that demand different kind of employability skills (Berghman and Vloeberghs, 2003). Here the role of employability skills on housekeeping section has been explained in an efficient manner. Further the work based problem along with its solution has also discussed in the current scenario. At last, the role of team working has also taken into special consideration.

Task 1:

1.1: Develop a set of own responsibilities and performance objectives

With a view of housekeeping job, there are certain very specific roles and responsibilities that are required to be fulfilled in an appropriate and efficient manner. Being a housekeeper position, the functions and responsibilities are related to the cleanliness and ensuring that the rooms should have all the required items. The caretaker needs to be particular about the facilities provided to the customers as per their demand and set standards of the hotel. The primary duty is to clean the room after people left the room and informing about the availability of the room for the new customers(Koprowska, 2010). The housekeeper also required understanding their responsibilities on fulfilling the requirement of customers even when they stay at the hotel. Delivering the special item to the room is also a duty of housekeeper. Being a housekeeper the maintenance of customer satisfaction remains in the hand of housekeeping staff as they need to be quick while responding towards the client compliant or any extra demand made by them. Ahead the performance objectives are related to the ensuring the positive customer experience about the service quality of the hotel. Being a housekeeper, the improvement in service quality could be improved by the housekeeping. Other than service quality improvement other performance objectives include informing about any damage done by the customer during their stay. It is something that can help the hotels to avoid any loss (Skiff, 2009). The respectful attitude of housekeeping can enable them to achieve these performance objectives.

 

1.2: Evaluate own effectiveness against defined objectives

To achieve the objectives special training has been undertaken so that the roles and responsibilities in an appropriate manner. The training has been provided with all the dimensions of executive housekeeping position. In training sessions, the knowledge about the duties and way to complete the task has been developed at enormous scale. Thus, it increases the own effectiveness against the defined objectives. Further, my communication skills are mu major strength in the current scenario. I have learned the ways to greet the customers in a proper way, with a smile and efficient gestures which help me in building connections with them. Being a housekeeper, it is essential to understand the demand and requirements of the customers. It helps in achieving the objectives related to job title and current position (Matiza, 2013). For the same purpose, I have gained the knowledge about some languages that also enable me to understand the demand of customers, and I can provide it to the people who stay. Ahead the housekeeping team or an executive housekeeper should have an adequate amount of information or checklist about the items within the room. The team should compare the list in case of ensuring the availability of all the articles. It is very common practice or duty of housekeeper that I understand in a disciplined way. Thus, in this way, I am efficient enough to justify with my roles and responsibilities and performance objectives.

1.3 Make recommendations for improvement

Certain techniques can help me in improving my skill set and most importantly the effectiveness could be enhanced. Here it is clear that the role of continuous training could be huge for the same purpose (Downs, 2008). It can help on the ground of bringing the improvement into the current skill and competency level while dealing with the customers. The training can assist in increasing the learning about my job title or position and in future it could result in achievement of performance objectives. Further, the meetings or sessions with the line manager could also generate positive results on bringing the possible improvements. It is to acknowledge that the line managers understand the small aspects and strengthening feature of every individual. The honest discussion with them can help immensely on the ground of nurturing the strengthening element, and the minor issues could be dealt in a proper way. It can also work as feedback about the performance within the particular period. Through feedback, the mistakes and errors could become into notice along with the excellent job performance (Tosi and Pilati, 2011). Accordingly the confidence could be developed and most importantly the high level of justification with the roles and responsibilities could be made. Other than this the incentives are most motivated factors that can help in moving towards the right direction. Through incentives, the desire to perform well and to learn the new methods could remain at its peak, and it could result in high level of improvement.

1.4 Review how motivational techniques can be used to improve quality of performance

Above the role of incentives and proper remuneration has been depicted on inheriting the motivation within the performance. Same wise the motivational technique or methods has lots of practices that can help immensely within the increment of the motivational level of employees. The Maslow’s need hierarchy theory determine the fulfillment of basic needs of the staff people as it motivates them to perform well. However this theory moreover indicates towards the social scenario (Training and Development 2009). The Herzberg’s motivational theory provides the simple plot about the increment in motivation through core management practices. The author here focused on the improvement in the quality of supervision. If the supervision style or managerial style is functional, then it helps to the ground of motivating the staff and the healthy relationship could be developed among the employer and employee. Further, this particular motivational has its huge role in explaining the role of manager’s support within the organization. The housekeeping team should get proper support and guidance from the line manager. Ahead the crew chief should appraise the team and required to provide opportunities for them. It is something that might help immensely in increasing the motivational level as it leads towards the job security. It also helps in working with full dedication and determination (Morgenstern, 2004). Thus in this way these techniques has an enormous role in ensuring the employee motivation within the housekeeping staff.

Task 2

2.1 Develop solutions to work-based problems

For this task, the selected organization is the Marriott hotel that has its operations all across the globe and has built its reputation all around the world. It is to acknowledge that certain problems could be treated as significant issues for any workplace. The major problem is that the communication is getting distorted due to the variety of elements. The communication is a very significant component of organizational operations, especially within the hospitality sector. The small level of communication skills has become one of the major work based problems in today’s competitive era(Nutley, 2008). The competition skills have been misinterpreted by the staff and individuals. The people sitting at higher level understand that the communication skills involve the gestures, listening skill and most importantly the dissemination of information at the various levels of hierarchy.  To deal with this problem, the organization can rely upon conducting the sessions where the staff people could be analyzed upon these three essential elements of communication skills. It is imperative to (or “intending to”) dealing with the solution or identified the problem (Kratz, 2005). It is to acknowledge that through proper assessment the batches of staff people could be made as per their problem with each element of communication skills. Afterward, the training sessions could be provided to the staff people within the organization. The Marriott hotel is a vast body so it could not be so tough for them to conduct such kind of training sessions. Further, the staff people are required to get familiar with the importance of communication skills in their development and to avail the growth opportunities (Agha, 2001). Thus, in this way, the practical solutions could be developed to eradicate the problem related to the low level of communication skills.

2.2: Communicate in a variety of styles and appropriate manner at various levels

At different levels the variety of communication techniques could be adopted by the higher authorities of cited hotel .it is clear that the size and structure of the hotel matters a lot regarding selecting the appropriate communication style or media. The higher authorities can communicate with the board of members if higher level managers through meetings and formal sessions. It helps in managing the professionalism and most importantly the discussion could be done in proper way. Further, the middle levels managers could be informed through seminars and conferences. It is most significant and useful technique for establishing communication with them (Back and et. al., 2003). The verbal, as well as written form of communication, could be proper on communicating the middle-level managers. Further, the help of mailing system could also get into the system. Through mailing, both formal and written form of communication could be established. To deal with lower level staff, the manager need to focus on the notice board or big conference or seminar where the information could be disseminated in an appropriate manner (Nothhaft, 2010). Nowadays the most professional and trusted media channel to communicate with people at various level is the website of the company. It is highly believed to ensure the genuineness of the information or any communication. It is to acknowledge that a large number of people could be informed in just one instance. It is both written and formal way of communication (Ottewill, 2002). Usually, within the organizations, the nonverbal and informal form of communication doesn’t exist at colossal scale. But in the case of passing the instructions the informal communication used by the managers so that the lighter environment could be developed. On the other hand, non-verbal communication is just based upon the personal understanding of reading the face or mind, concentrating on the tone of voice while saying anything. Thus here the significance of communication skills could be experienced in a proper way. Therefore, these are a variety of communication styles and media channels that could be adopted at various levels of an organization.

2.3: Identity effective time management strategies

Effective time management strategies include very logical and disciplined approach. First of all, there is an enormous requirement of focusing on the diary management. Through diary management, one can quickly concentrate on noting down the important and priority task (Time Management Strategies, 2013). It can help in remembering the important activities that are required to done on the priority basis. Further in case of a busy schedule as well the individuals can focus on the diary management. The tasks could be written and could complete one by one. Afterward another time management strategy is related to avoiding the procrastination. It is equally significant about ensuring that the people should get an adequate amount of time to complete their task. Here at the same juncture, it could be stated that avoiding the procrastination makes people highly responsible and disciplined towards their work. They tend to finish their job time and never postponed it for unreasonable issues. Thus, it allows them to utilize their time in a proper and efficient way, and they can easily manage the burden related to quick work or task. Further the list of time management strategies includes the breaking the task into small sections. It can provide the useful piece of information about the urgency or toughness of any task. Accordingly the time could be allocated to the particular task and most importantly the time management could become proper and accurate (Rose, 2008). Thus, these are appropriate time management strategies that could be implemented by the staff people.

Task 3:

3.1 Explain the roles people play in a team and how they can work together to achieve shared goals

To understand the role of people within the organization in achieving the goals, there is an enormous requirement of focusing upon the Belbin team theory. It can provide precise scenario about the role that could be possibly played by the individuals within the team (Cook, 2009). The Belbin theory suggests the nine roles of individuals, these functions are segregated into three major parts action-oriented roles, people oriented roles and thought oriented roles, which are described below:

Action oriented roles

To complete the task or achieving the shared goals, the role of shapes remains very vast. They are the one who create the challenging task in front of others and motivate them to perform well for the benefit of an organization. They are the one who took the initiative.

Another role is related to the implementer. They are the one who fulfill the initiatives taken by the shapers. They take one step towards the achievement of shared goals by inheriting the plans within the team or project (Mumby, 2012). They are the people who could have relied on the purpose of doing the job as they are well organized and systematic while doing their job.

Further, to achieve the shared goals, the role of the complete finisher is enormous as they focus on eradicating the errors and mistakes within the project. Their role is clear that they need to carry out the project in a proper and efficient way.

People oriented roles:

It includes coordinator, team worker, and resource investigator. These kinds of people play very crucial role in ensuring that the teamwork must be maintained. Further, it is to acknowledge that coordinator act as people who support the coordination within the teamwork through providing opportunities to people working within a team. Their guidance is supposed to be taken as important for the entire team (Salas, Bowers, and Edend, 2001). Next team worker is the people who provide support to the whole team and most importantly they are the people who execute the work or responsibilities assigned by the team leader. Resource investigators are the one who maintain a relationship with the external stakeholders and most importantly negotiate with them on the behalf of the team. Thus, these roles also help in achieving the shared goals or objectives (Ortiz and et, al., 2003).

Thought oriented roles

Now they are the people whose role is great to generate some useful knowledge and ideas to complete the task in an appropriate manner. Plant kind of people is highly innovative and creative, and they always provide solutions for the problem while getting engage within the team work. Their ideas and approaches take huge consideration. These ideas are evaluated by the monitor evaluator who works as an analyst on the team. Their role is to make a practical decision after analyzing all the situations and available alternatives. Specialists are those who have particular skills and abilities on a specific task or as per the basis of the project (Belbin, 2010). Thus, in this way, these are specific roles and responsibilities of people within the team which are required to be fulfilled for the achievement of shared goals.

3.2: Analyse team dynamics

To get knowledge about team dynamics the Tuckman’s model could be taken into special consideration. It includes four stages. Forming, norming storming and performing are the stages that have been explained within the Tuckman’s theory. At the step of forming the teammates come into contact with each another and try to understand each another. Here the teammates started to become familiar with each another so that the roles and responsibilities could be understood with relevance to the shared goals (Hede, 2010). Further, the storming stage represents where people come into discussion stage with each another. It is a point where people share their opinions about the ways or techniques to complete the project or task. It is a very crucial phase as if teammates have the opportunity to understand the potential of each another and ego and grudges could be diminished. Ahead the stage of forming indicates towards the intermediate phase where the level of conflict or confusion is minuscule. Everyone is clear about their roles and responsibilities and can deliver excellent contribution. At last, the stage of performing is all about completing the task as per the discussion or stages defined at storming phase (Kock, 2007). Thus, this theory provides the precise scenario about team dynamics or nature at every stage.

3.3: Suggest alternative ways to complete tasks and achieve team goals

Alternative methods are very accurate and is based upon the philosophical ideologies. It is to acknowledge that the team goals could be reached only if the team mates have effective communication and interaction process. If there is any loophole in the communication process them, it is impossible to deal with the conflicts and most importantly the sharing of information could also become highly ineffective. Thus, the alternatives include the establishment of proper communication. Other than this it is also clear that the sense of respect is required to be created among the team mates. It also helps in building the healthy relationship between individuals and team mates (Parker, 2010). Thus, in this way, these alternatives could put into practice for the achievement of goals.

Task 4

4.1 Evaluate tools and methods for developing solutions to problems

The Marriott hotel needs to focus on certain aspects related to the development of solutions to the problem. The small level of employee retention is one of the major problems that could affect the performance and sustainability of the organization.  The management of the hotel is required to understand the reason behind the problem so that the cause of the problem could be identified. It is the best technique that without knowing the issue of problem none of the organization can deal with the issue or challenge within the group. Here Marriott is also required to identify the reason behind the low level of employee retention with context to their management practices. It is clear that it helps in designing the best suitable strategy for eradicating the issue or challenge. Another problem-solving method is the analysis of the problem in group discussion (Salas, Bowers, and Edend, 2001). The team mates or the higher authorities of mentioned hotel can get into the brainstorming sessions and can get the solution for the problem. It is clear that the brainstorming can provide a clear overview of the situation, and various alternatives could be identified within the organization. Another tool is to assess the internal environment as well as the external environment with relevance to the problem. The hotel should get proper information about the environmental analysis so that the strategies that are positive and favorable with context to hospitality industry could be developed (Tosi and Pilati, 2011). The best tools could be the management tools and models. These management instruments and templates can enable an organization to get proper solution. These management models are highly result oriented and have their expediency within the eradication of management issues or problems. Every executive department or the area has a particular individual model that seems fit in the case of dealing with the problem. The employee retention could be easily handled through motivational techniques or models suggested. The method to implement the models is that the suitability and applicability of management models are required to be understood as it helps in generating the logical and analytical results (Berghman and Vloeberghs, 2003). Therefore, these are particular tools, techniques, and methods that can enable a cited hotel to solve their problem.

4.2 Develop an appropriate strategy for resolving a particular problem

The major step of approach starts from establishing the communication with existing staff. The authorities of Marriott need to identify the satisfaction level of employees within the organization. With the help of survey or feedback method, the team can focus on gaining the information about the problems or grievance level of staff people. Afterward, the management is required to list down the elements that lead towards the less employee satisfaction or the reason behind the low employee retention (Koprowska, 2010). The priorities should be given to those aspects that are common within the management practices. Thus, it is a very general strategy to resolve the problem. It is to acknowledge that the trust factor can also play a crucial role in the same scenario. The managers need to win the confidence of employees so that they can discuss their problem job dissatisfactory reasons in the proper and efficient way. Thus building trust and faith should be the significant element of strategy formulation process. Other than this most powerful strategy is to bring and introduce particular policies related to the enhancement of employee retention within the organization. The very characteristic feature for the employee turnover is the discrimination and stressed working situation. Marriott hotel is required to eliminate these aspects form the hierarchical levels and need to take appropriate steps so that these issues could be dealt in the proper way (Parker, 2010). For the same purpose, the human resource policies could be designed in a convincing manner and most importantly the instructions could be passed to avoid such activities. So these aspects can help in strengthening the strategies related to resolving the issue of labor turnover.

4.3 Evaluate the potential impact on the business of implementing the strategy

Possibly there are positive effects of these business strategies on Marriott hotel if these policies have been applied in an appropriate manner. The significant impact is related to the solution of the particular problem. The ratio of labor turnover could be reduced at gigantic scale and most importantly the employee retention can become the identity of cited organization. It is to acknowledge that employee retention is one of the major human resource objectives for the organization. The Marriott can avail the benefit related to low cost on the training schedules and most importantly the cost effectiveness within the hotel could be inherited (Ortiz and et, al., 2003). It is clear that the through such aspects the team not require conducting training for the new employees as they already have experienced employees who are a proud part of the organization for so many years. Another advantage for further that the former employees understand the culture of an organization and they feel comfortable while performing the tasks. Thus, it may help in improving the service quality, and people who accommodate at the hotel could get excellent staying experience. Ahead the list of possible positive impacts include that the Marriott hotel can build their reputation on the employee-centric organization. It is one of the major positive factors that could be gained by the cited hotel (Hede, 2010). This feature can enable those to acquire talent and potentially skilled employees which in result lead towards the good performance of the company. Thus, these are particular positive impacts on business of these strategies.

Conclusion:

By above study, all the dimensions that are related to work within the organization have become apparent. First of all the roles and responsibilities on housekeeping suggest the attentiveness and most importantly focusing on customer satisfaction. Integrating with the front office and line manager is also required. Other than this the work based problem like a low level of communication skills has been discussed along with its possible solution. Further, the primary outcomes of the study are to get intellect about the team work that is another required employability skill. It includes the Belbin and Tuckman theory that enhances the knowledge on the ground of team development and achievement of team goals.

References

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Numerous factors have contributed to a changing work environment moving away from the traditional concept to a more contemporary world of work. (Schreuder & Coetzee 2013, p. 26). Fugate, Kinick & Ashforth (2004, p. 15) whilst examining the construct of employability alluded to the fact that careers are becoming more and more protean due to the work environment transforming at such a rapid rate. Fugate et al (2004, p. 15) indicated that the protean career moves towards self-ownership, becoming flexible, careers becoming boundaryless by autonomously moving between organisations and/or industries in varying positions. Employees are faced with continuous restructuring, constant change, faced with job losses which threatens job security and the added responsibility previously borne by retrenched co-workers. In order to cope within this tumultuous environment Fugate et al (2004, p. 15) suggested that it is essential for workers to manage change continually by becoming flexible, be resilient, and be proactive and by increasing their levels of employability. Increasing employability relates to higher education and higher learning institutions play a crucial role in this regard (Weligamage, 2009, p. 115). He claimed that in order to enhance employability the attainment of practical work related experience and job knowledge will give graduates that vital edge when competing in the job market.
This literature review will focus on the factors that influence graduate employability within an open distance learning institution. The emphasis will be on employability as a construct, the relationship between graduateness and employability and the various role players in this relationship ie the learning institution, the employer and the individual.
2. Employability
McQuaid & Lindsay (2005, p. 199) described the construct of employability as defined by the Confederation of British Industry as individuals having the qualities and competencies needed to meet the changing needs of employers and customers and in the process realising his or her aspirations and potential. Employability is also defined by the Canadian government’s Labour Force Development Board as the individual’s ability to achieve meaningful employment as determined by personal circumstances and the labour market. The Northern Irish approach to employability is similarly based on the individual’s ability to gain and maintain employment, move between roles in the same organisation, secure new employment when necessary and subsequently find work that is fulfilling and satisfying.
Bridgstock (2009, p. 34) referred to employability as defined by the International Labour Organisation as a theory which:
Involve(s) self-belief and an ability to secure and retain employment. It also means being able to improve’ [the worker’s] productivity and income-earning prospects. This often requires competing effectively in the job market and being able to move between occupations as necessary. It requires ‘learning to learn’ for new job opportunities.
Harvey (2001, p. 97) also stated that opinions exist that define employability as graduating rather than the inclination for students to obtain a job.
In the same paper (McQuaid & Lindsay 2005, p. 199) the UK government defined employability as the development of skills and having adaptable workforces where workers are encourage to develop their skills, knowledge, technology and adaptability to enable them to remain in employment throughout their working lives. The British Government prioritised employability development but however placed the emphasis on individual skills.
2.1 The Individual and Employability
Fugate et al (2004, p. 15) proposed that individual employability incorporates multiple skills an individual should possess to effectively cope with the changes in the work environment. This effectively place the onus on the individual to acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities and characteristics that employers are looking for. Harvey (2001, p. 98) analysed employability from an individual and institutional perspective. He stipulated that the following factors related to individual employability:
a. Job type.
For some employability is about obtaining a job while for others a job should provide fulfilment or getting a career-orientated job that requires graduate skills and abilities
b. Timing
The timeframes involved in obtaining a job post graduating and not requiring retraining
c. Attributes on recruiting
The question here is the ability for some to demonstrate the relevant skills when applying or whether to develop these skills

d. Further learning
Two views are being analysed where the one holds that further development should take place after graduation whilst the other opinion places emphasis on the achievement of graduation but also taking cognisance of continuous learning.

e. Employability skills
Possessing skills such as generic, core or key skills that organisations are looking for.
Simmons-McDonald (2009) pointed out that importance of lifelong learning and that it a vital factor for individual employability in order to keep up with developments to stay competitive and marketable in the 21st century of work (cited in Lim, Fadzil, Latif, Goolamally & Mansor (2011, p. 2). Taylor (2002) emphasised how crucial it is for individuals to take ownership of their career stating that ‘Lifelong learning equals lifelong earning (cited in Lim et al, p. 2).
Harvey (2001, p. 98) stated that graduate employability suggests that graduates have subsequently obtained these skills and are adept at demonstrating them when getting a job. He argued however that graduates might have obtained these skills before higher education and just needs further development, may be in the process of being developed or might not have these skills at all. He also argued that by definition it is implied that recruiters and employers know what skills are required and have the tools to identify these attributes.

2.2 The Institution and Employability
The main purpose of higher education is the stimulation of individual and academic development in promoting graduateness skills and competencies (Coetzee (2012), Griesel and Parker (2009) and Noe and Dachner (2010) as cited in Coetzee and Potgieter (2009).
During her research Kruss (2004, p. 680) found that South African higher learning institutions were moving away from the traditional indirect employability models of education and progressing towards direct employability by implementing new strategies and mechanisms such as internships and experiential training thus promoting the required knowledge, skills and attributes as necessitated by industry, allowing for graduates to become more attractive to employers by possessing relevant work related experience.

According to Harvey (2001, p. 99) institutions ranked employability based on the employment rate of their graduates and can only play their part by encouraging and enabling students to becoming employable as a result of the experience they provide. Employability is however built into training programmes through employment linked projects, placement opportunities and work-shadowing.
According to Nel and Neale-Shutte (2013, p. 438) higher learning institutions are under pressure to enhance graduate employability by providing learning experiences that will ensure the relevant competencies such as knowledge, skills and attributes are learnt to enable graduates to contribute effectively to world of work. They describe graduate employability as a blend of personal attributes, understandings, skilful practices and the ability to reflect productivity on experience.
A big factor that contribute to graduates not finding employment was that they did not possess soft skills. This became evident in a study conducted in Malaysia on university curriculum and employability needs clearly indicating that employer needs are not being met by institutions. Graduates lacked the generic skills required to obtain employment, also a major contributor to unemployment (Lim et al 2011, p. 3).
2.3 The Employer and Employability

According to Kruss (2004, p. 682) who explored the expectations of higher education responsiveness of employers amongst others in South Africa, the expectations were that a direct link should exist between higher education and the job market, putting the onus on institutions to provide graduates with the necessary skills to make them employable. The expectation is that due to the volatility of the economy and the labour market employers are now demanding workers who are flexible, adaptable and have enquiring minds with the willingness to learn continuously. They seemed to be critical of institutions that are producing ‘under-employed or unemployable’ graduates who does not meet the job market requirements. She found that criticism was also levelled at institutions for not providing soft skills which is considered to be an important factor influencing employability and for not providing generic skills which will empower them in life in general. Examples of soft skills are problem solving skills, leadership skills, managerial skills, good citizenship, entrepreneurship, communication skills. There is the expectation that graduates should be directly employable once they have graduated. Workplace skills and experiential learning is considered to be core component of higher education leading to direct employability. The burden is therefore now on the institution to assume the role of developing students into skilled employees that was previously achieved by experience in the work place after graduating shifting from indirect to direct employability.

Kruss (2004, p. 683) found that expectations from business were for highly skilled employees to compete globally and to promote economic growth, develop a knowledge economy to ultimately attract investment in South Africa.
2.4 Employability Skills
Robinson (2000, p. 2) postulated that employability skills are generic in nature and not job specific and are utilised in all industry types, business sizes and job levels ranging from the lowest to the most senior position. She stipulated that employability skills are divided into three skills sets namely basic academic skills, personal qualities and higher order thinking skills required for obtaining, maintaining and flourishing in a job. She describes basic academic skills as those skills required to perform well in a job while higher-order thinking skills is essential for logical thinking, sound decision-making and to solve problems in order to progress. Personal qualities refer to those skills needed when interacting with others by being honest, open, be respectful, the ability to work in a team, have initiative and a positive attitude.

3. Relationship between graduateness and employability
Glover, Law and Youngman, 2002 linked graduateness and employability as follows (as cited in Chetty (n.d, p. 4):
‘While graduateness is seen as the skills, knowledge and understanding graduates possess, employability is concerned with the capacity of graduates to enter the national or international workplace’
In the same paper Yorke (2004, p. 410) described employability as defined by as a ‘set of achievements which constitute a necessary but not sufficient condition of gaining employment’ meaning that other variables need to be considered regarding employment (cited in Chetty, n.d, p. 4). Chetty inferred that work dynamics has taken on new dimensions and job security is not as relevant in the new contemporary world of work contrary to the traditional world of work. Graduates now need to have relevant competencies. The relevant skills she referred to are ability to prioritise, goal-setting skills, be pre-emptive when it comes to change, maintain continuous learning and the ability to work within changing teams.

4. Experiential learning (EL) and Employability
Nenzhelele (2014) explored the influence experiential learning in administrative management in an open distance learning institution had on employability. The objective of his research was to establish whether studying an experiential learning course would lead to employability. Nenzhelele (2014, p. 1604) stated that experiential learning has become an integral part of the learning experience for graduates and most of the higher learning institutions are including EL in their curriculum in order to attract students which will ultimately ensure they have the personal attributes and skills to gain rewarding and satisfying employment to the benefit of the economy, workforce and society. His findings indicated that students felt that EL provided the necessary impact in obtaining employment emphasise the relevance of EL. His findings also indicated that institutions have now come to the realisation that EL is a vital cog in the employability development process (2014, p. 1610). He stated that based on evidence it is vital for institutions, especially open distance learning institutions to include experiential learning in their business management modules.
Previous research indicated the importance of experiential learning and thus obtaining work experience during studies enhanced graduate employability.
5. Graduate employability at a Conventional University
Nel and Neale-Shutte conducted a survey research at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) to investigate how graduates thought their qualification contributed to employability. The primary focus of their research was to assess strategies to enhance employability of graduates. They addressed the following research questions to determine employment destinations of graduates at the point of graduation, whether graduates found employment in their field of study, their perception of whether qualification have developed their competencies to enhance employability, their strengths and areas of improvement with regards to their qualifications and their levels of satisfaction regarding qualification experiences, their lectures and the institution in general.
Bhorat, 2004: Pauw et al. 2006; Moleke 2010 (as cited in Nel and Neale-Shutte (2013, p. 439) states that post-apartheid South Africa is experiencing a high level of graduate unemployment. They indicate that globally employment structures has moved from manual labour to jobs which require higher skills levels which does provide the necessary opportunities for graduates. Global economic forces and advances in technology are ensuring that the requirement for graduates with the acquired knowledge and skills are provided for in an extensive assortment of occupations. A key variable is for the economy to create sufficient jobs to accommodate the new entrants into the job market. However Moleke (2010) (as cited in Nel and Neale-Shutte (2013, p. 439) indicated that graduates are flooding the labour market to such an extent that few of these new entrants are being absorbed into jobs thereby exceeding employment growth and creating a disparity between demand and supply. Their study also shows that graduate unemployment increased by nearly 50% between 1995 and 2005. Whilst the number of university graduates are increasing, there is no congruency between qualifications obtained and the skills required by the labour market with an undersupply in certain fields and a surplus in areas where labour demands are less critical. The quality of graduates are considered to be lower than required and lacking in softer skills, practical skills and relevant work experience which is vital requirement.
Their findings determined that higher education institutions are at times failing learners by not sufficiently grooming them for the intricacies of the 21st century world of work. Subject matter was also a cause for concern requiring learners to work independently and competing with each other.
Their survey demonstrated however that the curricula was supportive of development of competencies that provided them with the capacity to fulfil a role contrary to them having the skills to merely perform a specific job. They recommended that the university consult employers and relevant role players to create more employment opportunities for graduates. They also posited that experiential and service learning prior to graduation will enhance employability and the current experiential and service learning and graduate placement programmes needed to be reviewed and expanded to forge closer links with the work environment.
6. Open Distance Learning (ODL) Institution
Students’ graduateness and employability has formed an integral part of today’s technology-driven knowledge economy (Coetzee & Potgieter 2009, para 2). (Udegbe (2012) found that open distance learning is becoming increasingly more popular in developing countries (cited in Nenzhelele 2014, p. 1605) subsequent to the advancement of information and communication technology (ICT). Open distance learning is characterised by electronic and online learning (Moore and Kearsley (2005) as cited by Nenzhelele 2014, p. 1605). Open distance learning provide opportunities to those who previously did not have the opportunity to access higher learning and allows for flexibility in terms of time, speed, method of learning and provide freedom of selection (Nenzhelele 2014, p. 1605). According to Ofoegbu (2009) as cited in Nenzhelele ‘the objective of ODL is to enhance the opportunities that support education for all and lifelong learning’. ODL is interactive and makes use of text, audio and video facilities.
The disadvantage of ODL is the distance and absence of contact between student and lecturer meaning no student support resulting in higher failure rate and low student graduation rate (Nenzhelele 2014, p. 1605). UNISA is one of the largest ODL on the continent has an explicit effect on education in South Africa (According to Pityana (2009) as cited in Nenzhelele, p. 1606) and faces massive challenges in terms of dropout rates. Only 30 percent of 1st year students complete their studies within five years (Scott, Yeld & Hendry (2007), cited in Nenzhelele, p. 1606)
In Malaysia, with ODL, provisions are being made for students who did not meet the admission requirements by recognition of previous relevant work experience. Provisions are also being made for working adults to study part time while maintaining a full time job (Lim et al 2011 p. 4). Lim et al however pointed out that questions are being asked regarding the quality of learning of ODL which is considered to be of a lesser quality than conventional institutions. Findings from their study concluded that distance learning programmes in Malaysia have been producing quality graduates who satisfied the needs of a large number of employers and these graduates compared favourably with graduates from conventional institutions.
7. Conclusion
After reviewing the literature it seemed that certain factors have a direct influence on graduate employability. Lifelong learning was shown to be a prominent factor as discovered in the review of the literature as discovered by research done by Lim et al (2011), Kruss (2004) and Nel and Neal-Shutte (2013). Experiential learning also prominently featured as a crucial required for employment and employability allowing graduates to ‘hit the ground running’ (Lim et al (2011); Nenzhelele (2014)).
The lack of softer and generic skills was found to be a major contributor to graduates not finding suitable employment or not finding employment at all. Mismatches between employer expectations and learning institution output also contributed significantly to the lack of graduate employability.
The literature also revealed that no research exists that sufficiently link graduate employability directly to open distance learning institutions. Lim et al explored to what extent ODL graduates met employer requirements.

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