Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Employability vs Long-term employment? Which do you choose?

What do young people really want? Keeping in mind the harsh reality of unemployment statistics in our society, will young people choose “employability” over “long-term” job security? Is one more importance than the other? As a young person, would you prefer stability of long-term employment or knowing that your skills make you adaptable to wide range of jobs?

“Your employability is your job security, not the job itself,” says Douglas Imaralu, a young Nigerian Graduate.

Imaralu is currently taking up different professional management trainings and foreign language classes to augment his degree certificate, in preparation to take on full time employment. 

He adds, “The fact that you can work and fit anywhere is security. Skills will make you adaptable.”
The Lagos State University Graduate says the world is changing, old methods are being revised so with more skills one can easily adapt and become employable anywhere.

Olamide Ogunleye, who graduated last month from a university in the US, agrees with Imaralu. “I would acquire skills that make me adaptable to different positions. In other words, carve a niche for myself,” she says.

She reiterates the importance for young people to acquire skills that will make them adaptable to different jobs.

“In a world where technology is on the rise, it is imperative for every individual to acquire new skills that will set him or her apart from others.” She adds.

Ogunleye points out that settling with the “employed” status is like opting to fit in instead of standing out.

“If there is a chance for you to make yourself better, you should jump at it. Often times, you find people changing jobs for a number of reasons. People even leave jobs that pay well; they leave when they feel they are not growing. You cannot grow if you don’t enhance your skills.” Says Ogunleye.
To buttress her point, the Eastern Michigan University graduate noted that it is true that a company will hire you if you have the degree they want but they’ll hire someone with degree plus experience (additional skills) over you.

“The work force is a society on its own. It is a competitive society and whether you like it or not, someone is eyeing that position you call stable,” she says.

Imaralu and Ogunleye, although live in two different parts of the world with unique socio-economic climate, do not prefer stability of long-term employment to employability.
Why limit yourself? Why not take on skills that make you adaptable to different positions?” asked Ogunleye.

They both advocate for young people to embrace opportunities that will allow them acquire competent skills adaptable to wide range of jobs.

In Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics puts unemployment at 23.9 per cent while according to the US Labour Department data, unemployment rate in the US stands at 8.7 per cent, as of December 2011.

Whether living in the US or in Nigeria, after pounding the pavement for several days, weeks, months or years and you finally secure a position in a company, “aim to be an asset to that company.”  One of the ways to be an asset is not to get comfortable in the “employed status” but rather to acquire new skills that will enable you manage different responsibilities that comes with it or move on to a more interesting employment opportunity

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