Employability

Employability is the sum of the worker's capabilities and talents needed for keeping relevance to the labor market in a globalized world.

Definition

Employability is the aggregate of the skills and abilities a worker needs to develop over time in order to preserve his relevance to the changing labor market.

Context

Realizing the' Israel 15' vision requires a ‘social economic leapfrog'. The 'Israel 15' vision calls for the transformation of Israel into being one of the top fifteen countries in the quality of life of their citizens. The realization of this vision includes a ‘social-economic leapfrog', in order to close gaps between the quality of life in Israel and other developed countries.1

The ‘leapfrog' is the outcome of a unique and global development policy. A unique and global development policy focuses on the creation of innovation and promising market's competitiveness. This policy strives to utilize strong global trends using the market's unique advantages and characteristics.

A unique and global development policy encourages the market to change the national product composition and shift to more economically valuable products. This process includes the rise of new industries and the decline of non-competitive ones, according to the 'creative destruction' concept of the well-known Austrian economist Josef Schumpeter.2

‘Creative destruction' demands the perpetual updating of capabilities. Speeding up the change rate requires a flexible and dynamic workforce able to adjust accordingly.3 As workers receive increasingly up to date training so the labor market will be better equipped to self-adjust in keeping with the global market's rate of change.

Employability Components

Employability has two aspects:

  • n Personal aspect - the worker's personal abilities, such as professional knowledge, training, traits and his general attitude.
  • n External aspect - the external circumstances beyond the control of the individual worker; dependent mainly on demand and supply in the labor market.

Employability's influence on worker and employer

  • n Employability maintains the worker's relevance to the labor market. Maintaining employability allows the worker stability based on his relevance to the labor market and his ability to match the market's changing demands.4 Instead of basing worker's employability on tenure in the work place, employability gives the worker security based on his ability to adjust himself to external changes.5
  • n As the worker adopts new capabilities and skills, the employer enjoys better work force. A worker preserving his employability can be hired in a broader range of functions, thus allowing the employer greater flexibility in labor force management. Furthermore, maintaining employability enhances the worker's ability to fulfill his current functions.

Employability policy's aim

Government policy concerning employability has dual aims:

  • n Utilizing existing worker's capabilities and helping him to locate and realize hidden capabilities. It may be the case that within some individuals and communities there lies an unutilized potential - such as capabilities and talents which do not find expression in the labor market. Governmental policy can realize this potential through training and placement institutions, which will help identify and utilize these capabilities.
  • n Help coordinate between a worker's capabilities and personal circumstances, and between market necessities and the surrounding environment in which the worker lives. At any given time, there may exist an asymmetry between the worker's capabilities and external circumstances effecting the opportunities and capabilities of realizing this potential. In this matter, government policy can bridge the gap between personal capabilities and external factors; for example, in aiding Arab women with hardships to find work in the Galilee, by building connections between potential employers and job seekers.


1 For further reading see Reut Institute's paper: 'Principals and Guidelines for Achieving a Socioeconomic Leapfrog - Version B'.

2 For further reading see Reut Institute's paper: 'Principals and Guidelines for Achieving a Socioeconomic Leapfrog - Version B', p. 13.

3For further reading see Rut Institute's paper: The Flexicurity approach.

4 Employability: From Theory to Practice, p.4.

5 One of the Flexicurity approach components is the enhancement of the worker's employability. One of this policy's definitions, as implemented in Holland, is the transition from Job Security to Employment Security.

See also: Ton Wilthagen, Frank Tros, The Concept of "Flexicurity": a New Approach to Regulating Employment and Labour Markets.