SCALE UP | Enhancing Youth Employability: an Analysis Based on Soft-Skills

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Introduction

In today’s rapidly evolving job market, young jobseekers face numerous challenges and opportunities. In the framework of the Scale-up project, funded by the Erasmus+ programme under small scale cooperation partnerships, a survey was conducted to better understand the relationship between young people and job market, as well as the soft-skills that are most searched by employers.

By fostering a better understanding of the skills and qualifications necessary for today’s job market, the surveys aimed to bridge the gap between education and employment, enhancing the prospects of young jobseekers in Spain, Italy, and Lithuania.

The surveys highlight key aspects of youth employability, emphasising the importance of skills development, education, and adaptability in aligning with labor market demands.

Now, an infographic, showing the results in a more accessible way, is made available.

Download the infographic.

Survey for Jobseekers

The survey was administered to 64 young people from Italy, Lithuania and Spain. It involved more women (67%) than men (33%) and most of them (56%) had completed a university degree in the period of the survey. This high level of education is complemented by a diverse range of fields, including business administration, social sciences, communication, and information technologies.

Previous work experiences

A significant majority (78.13%) of the respondents have prior work experience. Their job roles ranged from elementary positions to management and professional roles, with durations varying from less than a year to over five years. Despite this, a large portion of the jobseekers (68.74%) are currently seeking management or professional positions, reflecting their higher education levels and aspirations.

Key Skills and Competencies

Young jobseekers rated their competencies on a scale of 1 to 7, revealing strengths and areas for improvement:

  • High Scores: Adaptability (6.16), Fast Learning (6.14), Initiative (6.02), Creativity (6.10)
  • Low Scores: Specific Expertise and Experience (4.92), Teamwork (5.31)

These results indicate a strong emphasis on adaptability and learning agility among young jobseekers, though specific expertise and teamwork need enhancement.

Survey for companies

The survey for companies involved 49 companies from Italy, Lithuania and Spain. It highlighted key attributes employers seek in potential hires:

  • Top Skills for Managers/Specialists: Problem Solving (9.18), Technical Knowledge (9.00), Decision Making (8.86)
  • Top Skills for Administration/Services: Adaptability (8.54), Technical Knowledge (8.32)

Notably, skills like ICT proficiency and creativity were less emphasised for higher responsibility roles, indicating a potential area for skill development among jobseekers.

From surveys to practice

By comparing the results of the two surveys, both commonalities and relevant differences between jobseekers and companies were identified. In particular, it was decided to focus on those soft-skills that were particularly in demand by the companies but had received low scores from the jobseekers. The aim was to give young people the opportunity to improve specific skills in order to increase their chances on the labour market.

Conclusion

This analysis process led to the identification of four soft-skills, which were then the focus of the project’s online training course: emotional skills, critical thinking and problem solving, digital skills and leadership skills. The content of the 4 modules, were summarized in 4 toolkits.

Read also

SCALE UP | A Learning Module on Leadership Competences

SCALE UP | A Learning Module on Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

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