Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
3 minute read
17 Jul 2022
5:30 am

It’s possible to improve your employability – here’s how

Ina Opperman

Your employability can even define your ability to create jobs, including your own.

Image: iStock

We all want to improve our lives after the pandemic. For some of us, this means resigning and doing something we really want. For others, it also means resigning, but in this case to get a better job. However, you can only get a better job if your employability is high.

According to Mobieg, an advice website, ‘Employ-ability’ is a set of achievements, namely skills, understanding and personal attributes that make you more likely to get employed and be successful in your occupation for the benefit of yourself, the workforce, the community and the economy.

However, employability is not the same as getting a job, but it implies something about your capacity to function in a job and move between positions, remaining employable throughout your life.

Being employable means having a thorough understanding of your job, the necessary skills to do the job, believe in yourself that you can do the job and know when and how to use strategies for learning or problem-solving.

According to the student website of the Nelson Mandela Bay University, “employment is a short-term outcome, whereas employability is a long-term strategy. Employability transcends occupations and a single career and looks to the future of work.”

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What is employability?

Employability means more than getting or having a job. It is about your ability to keep it. It sets you apart with your skills set, achievements, attitude, competencies and work ethic. These are the things that will add to the success you experience throughout the duration of your working life.

Employability skills include, amongst others, communication, leadership, the ability to work in a team and problem-solving, skills that are also commonly attributed to effective entrepreneurs.

According to the national department of Higher Education and Training’s Job Preparation Skills Guide, “becoming employable is important because it helps you to maintain a competitive edge, placing you in a better position to retain a job in our unstable economy”.

“We also know that the job market is extremely competitive. Having a broad generic skill set adds to your appeal as a prospective employee. When recruiters or employers consider job applicants, they pay close attention to your skills and whether you have the right personality and qualities for the job. You need to have the skills and qualities that will set you apart from other potential candidates.

Boosting your employability

Before you can improve your employability, you need to know what your employability skills level is your future career, as well as the kind of skills you might need to gain entry to and excel in your field. Think of the skills you already have and the ones you want to develop. Find ways to refine these skills in your daily life.

Employability skills include communication, leadership, resilience, teamwork, creativity, self-management, adaptability, decision-making, problem solving, project management, strategic thinking, administrative skills and financial management.

Facts about employment in South Africa

  • About 201 million people around the world are currently unemployed.
  • South Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates globally, with 51% of youth unemployed.
  • The catch-22 of employment is that you ‘cannot get work experience without work experience’.
  • In South Africa, more than 50% of youth never finish their primary education and leave school by grade 10 or 16 years of age.
  • Children who do not read well by grade 4, are four times more likely to drop out of school.
  • The reasons for the high drop-out rate are lack of parental involvement, lack of money, difficulty keeping up with schoolwork, language barriers, gangsterism, drugs and teen pregnancies.
  • Young people who do not complete their primary education are the most vulnerable and their employment chances are significantly reduced.
  • Having a matric certificate does not make a significant difference in increasing youth employment prospects. A matric certificate and skills training or a higher qualification makes a difference.
  • There are currently 800 000 unemployed graduates in South Africa.
  • It takes 1-3 years for a young person to become discouraged and stop looking for a job.

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