The changing times may have resulted in university degrees not being enough to secure a fulfilling career or a job itself for a graduate. However, the academe has coped with the shifting requirements of the job market thereby making formal education still the best means of achieving success in clenching the highly contested vacancy and, eventually, developing a career.
The job market has introduced new requirements every now and then. They include, among others, graduates who are “work-ready” with the job-specific skills. These employability skills include the personal attributes of the graduate and one’s understanding of the skills and attributes which will make one more employable and effective in one’s occupation. These skills are not limited to being beneficial to the graduate alone but to the workforce, the community and the economy. Industry employers have observed and assert that without these skills, an employee will not be able to use and develop more technical and specialised skills. They demonstrate this by requiring applicants to possess such employability skills.
Although some or even many job-specific skills or employability skills are not expected to be taught in university or acquired by students and eventual graduates, they are gradually incorporated by the universities into their curriculum. In fact, it is the people in the industry including professional associations, regulatory bodies and employers who inform the academe of specific newly arising skills requirements. They want applicants to jobs and eventual employees to possess the new requirements and have these qualification supported with certification from the academe. Applicants may have developed such skills outside the university but for the industry and employers, it is still better to have them formalised and accredited. In turn, the academe welcomes the requirements and, as mentioned, integrates the required skills into the education and qualification they give to students. Thus, nothing beats going to university still.
One example of employability skills is sustainability education. Businesses have been required by industry regulators and associations to adapt sustainability practices with the aim of protecting and preserving ecology so that natural and other resources will be sustained for and in the future. These practices require that employees know how to cope with, manage and share social, economic and ecological conditions involving change, uncertainty, risk and complexity. In turn, employers require applicants to have the education and skills needed for sustainability. Aside from employers looking for this requirement from job aspirants, they also communicate this need to the academe through and with their industry.
With newly required skills and education being communicated by employers and industries to the academe and the latter responding to the need by integrating the corresponding education and skills into the curriculum, going to university will continue to be the best means to land a job and develop a successful career.