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Background of the Study

Employability incorporates the dual aspects of supply and demand of labour to show that advancing one’s position in the labour market by gaining credentials is partially dependent on structural factors outside the individual’s control. The recent financial crisis demonstrates that global economic factors can and do have a significant impact on the likelihood of an individual securing a job regardless of their skills, credentials and social status. Our financial institutions and stock exchange market are yet to recover from the crisis. The retrenchment exercises in our banks and merger of some of the banks that have heightened the unemployment rate is not unconnected with the crises.

It is often believed that credential, knowledge and social status alone will guarantee a good position in the labour market. With the restructuring of the nation to a knowledge based economy, there has been a paradigm shift with more emphasis or demand for high calibre management skills. However, a focus on obtaining skills in order to gain good employment or standing in the labour market has led to an over-supply of graduates and a larger number of contenders chasing the same top jobs. The rate at with our higher institutions churn out graduates is indeed alarming without commensurate spaces for them to work. Brown and Hesketh (2004) stressed that there is a clear mismatch between individual’s expectations of employability and the realities posed by the labour market. This was what informed the classification of job seekers by Brown and Hesketh into two and they are: purist and players. The authors described the purists as those that believe in merit in getting their desired jobs because they have the requirements for the job. On the other hand, the players adopt any means possible to secure their desired jobs either by ‘hook or crook’ (that is, either legally or illegally). With the recent development in this part of the world, the players tend to thrive owing to the limited job opportunities.

A major concern of graduates is on what constitutes employability competencies. The competencies possessed by graduates seem to be different from what the employers want. Some employers have tried to outline some of these skills they want from job seekers. In a bid to creating harmony in their skills, the Secretary Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) prepared reports on ways of assisting educational institutions and schools in producing younger generations who are willing to work. The report outlines both ‘fundamental skills’ and ‘workplace competencies’ to include: basic, thinking, personal qualities, resources, interpersonal, information, systems technology skills (SCANS, 2001).

The above skills are no doubt invaluable to Business Education graduates. Uwameiye (1992) as cited in Imeokparia and Ediagbonya (2009) defined Business Education as the development of appropriate knowledge, skills, attitudes and understanding required to fit into chosen occupation or occupations. There are certain competencies that are particular to Business Education graduates. For instance, secretarial and accounting competencies remain as relevant as ever before. Though dynamism in the educational system and world of work have informed innovations in the field. The extent or degree to which Business Educator possesses these skills determines his/her relevance in the world work. Thus, the need to investigate into competences needs required by graduates of Business Education in tertiary institutions to becomes employable in modern office in Ebonyi state. Therefore, this study is designed to identify the Employability skills required by business education graduate for effective operation of modern officein Ebonyi State.

Statement of the Problem

There have been numerous complaints about the quality of graduates produced in most tertiary vocational and technical institutions in Nigeria. Tudunwada, (2011) observed that most graduates are not properly prepared for work especially for the industries and commerce. Dikko (2008) also observed that there is a growing concern among industrialists that graduates of tertiary institutions do not possess adequate work skills necessary for employment in industries. Since the industries and the world of work are among the employers of Business Education graduates, Business education programmes should be geared toward satisfying the needs of these industries. Dikko further stated that this problem of inadequate skills among Business school graduates led to the expensive venture of opening training schools in many industries where fresh graduates are being re-trained. There is an alarming rate of unskilled graduates produced by educational institution (Olaitan, 1999).This problem of unskilled graduates lead to low productivity, poor quality product and high cost of production. It also affects the employers, employees and the economy of the nation in general.

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