Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

The Impact of Basic, Higher-Order Thinking and Affective Skills on Graduate Employability

Academic journal article IUP Journal of Soft Skills

The Impact of Basic, Higher-Order Thinking and Affective Skills on Graduate Employability

Article excerpt

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Employability has become the current concern of the entire world. It has turned out to be a predominant factor in determining the socioeconomic power of the nations. The conflict between employability and employment in the current scenario has moved to the extent of replacing the problem of 'Employment' with 'Employability'. Irrespective of the wealth and power of the nations, employability has become a universal problem.

Employability is a combination of a variety of skills, abilities, knowledge, competencies, and capabilities that facilitates individuals not only to get employment, but also be successful and move up in their career ladder. "Employability" refers to "work readiness," which means possessing the required skills, knowledge, attitude, and understanding that will help new recruits to make productive contributions to their organization immediately after appointment (Mason et al., 2006). Graduates are able to attain technical skills through their course of study in the academic institutions. But mere possession of technical skills fails to fetch an employment for an individual. Lack of necessary skills drives away the graduates from demonstrating their acquired knowledge and competencies before the employers.

In India, out of 600,000 arts and science graduates who pass out every year, only 10% are employable (McKinsey Global Report, 2013). Similarly, the report of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) reveals that only 25% of technical graduates and 15% of non-technical graduates of India are employable. Also, it adds on to the facts that among the unemployed Indians, 69% are educated but lack skills.

Another study conducted by CII has found that 90% of the industries recruit candidates with some level of skills, 9% expect some knowledge, whereas only 1% of the employers expect both skills and knowledge. But barely 25% from Tier II and Tier III towns meet the eligibility criteria, whereas the rest are nowhere in the reckoning in terms of skills or knowledge. The tier status of the cities is determined based on the population size. According to Aspiring Minds (2013), cities with population size greater than 25 lakh are categorized under Tier I and those with population between 5 and 25 lakh are categorized under Tier II and cities with less than 5 lakh population fall under Tier III.

The Report also stated that there is a vast difference in the employability percentage of graduates belonging to metro region and non-metro region. The same report reveals that the drop in employability level of graduates belonging to lower tier cities is due to lack of not technical skills but generic skills.

The possession of the right set of skills and competencies enables an individual to present himself/herself as a suitable candidate before the employer. The skills set required in various industries may vary from one another. However, there are certain common skills that need to be possessed by every individual irrespective of the industry in which they work. Such skills are termed as 'generic skills' and the other group of skills as 'job-specific' or 'technical skills'.

The Expert Panel on Skills, in its report on 'Skills and Opportunities' in the Knowledge Economy (March 2000), divided skills into five categories. They include the technical or hard skills and then four categories of soft skills: essential skills, management skills, leadership skills and contextual skills (Bhatnagar and Bhatnagar, 2012).

Essential skills include reading, writing, computer applications, thinking and analyzing skills; Managerial skills include planning, organizing, marketing, managing negative people, assertive skills and conflict management skills; Leadership skills include goal setting, team building, motivation skills, risk taking and formulating vision; and Contextual skills are operational skills required in different countries, regions, cultures or situations. …

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