The economies of many Asian countries grew through manufacturing low cost products for the rest of the world, which enabled millions of their citizens to step out of abject poverty over the last few decades. However, with an increased focus on keeping costs low, most large manufacturers are moving towards factory automation to reduce the number of workers they need to hire. Smaller scale manufacturers and less developed Asian nations are keeping worker salaries very low while expecting more productivity out of them. Hence, workers in Asia’s manufacturing sector are less likely to move out of poverty than previous generations. A way out of this quagmire is to train manufacturing workers to become knowledge workers, so that they can join Asia’s fast growing services sector.

Today, a talented employee is one who can adapt quickly to new environments and job needs as their career progresses within a company or between companies. This means that instead of hiring new employees with only the required hard skills like coding, financial skills, or writing skills, employers look for people who have the capabilities to rapidly learn new hard skills as needed. Hence, the focus has shifted to finding employees who have the personality traits to do so.

Traits for long term employability

Employers describe employees with these traits in various ways, like having a positive attitude, being a go-getter, or being dynamic. However, it is important to create a framework that reduces these qualitative statements into parameters that are measurable and can be developed in individuals.

Based on my research on employability, these are the basic traits needed for most white collar jobs across most industries:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Great team working ability
  • Quick problem solving ability
  • Proactive attitude
  • Professional work ethic
  • Competence on office IT software
  • Industry domain knowledge

Read the full article about data driven model to train the underprivileged for white collar jobs by Dr. Akhil Shahani at AVPN.