Whilst we focus on disruption in technology there are many other areas that are undergoing massive changes. Workers at both ends of the economic scale are under previously unseen pressures. Factory and farm workers are being replaced by robots and graduates vying for management positions are finding thousands of other equally qualified people in line for fewer jobs.
Our obsession with qualifications has made a lot of money for the education sector and pumped out lots of people with degrees so employers are having to change their decision criteria to fill gaps. If the surveys are any indication, it’s becoming a case of “attitude over academia” in the hiring stakes.
Recruitment group Reed polled over 1,000 business owners to see what key traits employers look for in job seekers and it discovered that 96% of employers would hire someone who did not have a complete set of skills but displayed the right attitude over an applicant with the perfect skills but who lacked the right mindset.
Even more surprising is that 66% of employers felt that if they had to reduce staffing numbers they would fire someone with a perfect skills set over someone with deficient skills but sporting the right attitude for retrenchment. To employers this is not news but the fact that our education systems have failed to recognise these changes clearly illustrates a complete disconnect between today’s business needs and education supply.
In the same report, employers ranked the top six essential attitude qualities as “commitment, honesty, trustworthiness, adaptability, accountability, and loyalty.” These are surely the new “employability” factors that need to be instilled.
Employability is an interesting concept in itself. Despite the word making obvious sense, dictionaries fail to agree on a single definition, despite it being mentioned in research dating back to 1998. Is it surprising then to find a whole raft of approaches to dealing with employability?
Recruitment professional Adrian Thomas pointed out in an article that virtually every careers service within British Universities have recently rebranded to include employability, either within the departmental name or to expand on their core undertaking. However, some have taken it a step further by realising that creating the right ‘Can Do’ mind set in their students enables them to have a greater impact across a broader cohort of students. They have adopted an employability program that doesn’t talk about vacancies, job boards, CV or interviews and yet has a massive impact on the employment statistics.
One company addressing these issues, Mind Fit, helps people and businesses succeed and achieve a paradigm shift in performance through improving attitude and behaviour. Mind Fit CEO Neville Gaunt is passionate about improving the employability of young people and the concept of eliminating “Behaviourial Waste™” in organizations. As an outgrowth of his organization, which helps develop a sustainable “can do” attitude in employees, Gaunt has now launched an online program to assist students and graduates across the globe. He calls it Your Passport To Grow (YP2G), that made its formal launch with more than 1,000 students on May 21. Its goal is to help young people define their purpose, and develop the right attitude and soft-skills to improve their employability. In essence, YP2G is accelerating the development of tomorrow’s leaders.
The program is beginning in Pakistan, due to both the high opportunity and by coincidence, as Gaunt learned of their needs in the course of three keynotes to more than 500 leading Pakistani organizations last year. But plans are in motion with sponsoring agencies, corporations and NGOs to expand the program to teachers, to students age 4-11 and 11-16 as well as students in higher education worldwide.
And it won’t stop there. Gaunt aims to have the YP2G course provided to every college and university student in their first year, as the engagement will influence their studies and schooling at an early enough stage to raise attainment to the highest possible level. Employability, at last, may have some real meaning.