Original Research

The significance of employee biographics in explaining employability attributes

Jo-Anne Botha, Mariette Coetzee
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 20, No 1 | a1636 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v20i1.1636 | © 2017 Jo-Anne Botha, Mariette Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 July 2016 | Published: 04 December 2017

About the author(s)

Jo-Anne Botha, Department of Human Resource Management, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, South Africa
Mariette Coetzee, Department of Human Resource Management, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Background: Employability is the capacity of employees to acquire transferable competencies and individual capacities that enable them to adapt to, be innovative in and steer their own careers in a dynamic work environment. It is clear that employers would thus look for employees who are capable of proactive adjustment and action-oriented behaviours.

Aim: The aim of the study was to determine whether significant differences exist in the employability attributes of individuals from different gender, race and age groups and if so, how should such a diverse workforce should be managed.

Setting: This study was conducted at a distance education institution. The sample of respondents consisted of adult learners who are pursuing further distance learning studies in the economic and management sciences field in South Africa.

Methods: Correlational and inferential statistical analyses were used. A stratified random sample of 1102 mainly black and female adult learners participated in the study.

Results: The employability attributes framework identified three categories of employability: interpersonal, intrapersonal and career attributes. The research indicated that significant differences exist between gender, race and age groups with regard to employability. Male and female participants differed significantly with regard to entrepreneurial orientation, proactivity and career resilience. The various race groups differed considerably regarding cultural competence and sociability of individuals. Participants older than 50 years scored the highest on self-efficacy.

Conclusion and implications: The findings of this research could ensure that previously disadvantaged individuals are not further marginalised because of a lack of employability attributes and that the required employability attributes can be cultivated to ensure advancement and success in the work place.


employability; proactivity; self-efficacy; emotional literacy; sociability; cultural competence; career self-management; career resilience; entrepreneurial orientation


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