2. Why & how to make job profiles?

General description:

The job profile outlines the details of an employee’s job duties. This useful tool offers a good explanation of the components of a job and what the company is specifically seeking when they have open vacancies. Companies can use it for recruiting, posting jobs and providing clear parameters for jobseekers. For employees is an easy-to-develop method for identifying key components of their job.

From the perspective of VET schools, there is a need for clear and well-defined standards that specify job requirements. Vocational education is judged by the extent to which is achieves a good performance for trainees and graduates in the labour market. It is, therefore, primarily up to the sector to provide VET schools with well-specified occupational profiles as a touchstone for their programmes and especially for their students’ performance in their work placements in the early stages of their professional lives. The job profile is best developed by a team of employers, who understand the organization’s needs, with VET schools as well, who can make draft profiles to discuss with the sector.

JOB PROFILE MAIN FEATURES

Job profiles contain an overview of:

  • Job duties and responsibilities, with information regarding the work environment and the activities that employees will be exposed to on a daily basis
  • Experience needed to do the job
  • Qualifications and skills necessary to perform the job: technical and professional knowledge, capabilities and their expected levels of professional contents
  • Education and credentials required
  • The physical demands of the job and the surrounding work environment
  • Reporting assignment
  • Pay range information

In organizational roles, it is possible to identify two distinct and fundamental expectations: - Purpose expectations: the reason why a role exists in the organization - Profile expectations: the characteristics (job profile) expressed in terms of competence (knowledge and capabilities) that the role must possess to achieve the expected performance results.

WHY JOB PROFILES?

Job descriptions are generally applied for salary ratings and to make clear what an employee is expected to do (tasks) in his/her job, what responsibilities he/she will have and the level of authority (e.g. over others). However, SMEs tend to produce job descriptions, less frequently than larger firms. Some never they use them. There is a change in practice towards competencies and development: not merely of the employees (Human Resource Development, that is the process of helping employees continue to grow and develop their skills) but also of the job itself (Job 'carving', known as job customization or customized employment, used to analyse tasks in a job role and swap an element of the job duties to make the most of individual skills). Nevertheless the link with VET design is rarely made. Work and VET are different and can occupy separate worlds. The focus of the QSE-VET project is to link the two worlds with a special type of job description, one that provides more detail, more transparency and relevance, especially on the side of knowledge, skills and competencies. It seeks to establish a language common recognizable by all stakeholders: the employers and their employees (regarding job appraisal interviews) and, VET providers and their students.

The labour market is responsible to define the standard for craftsmanship required and to be supplied by the VET providers. The job description is the (moving) target for Vocational Education and Training (VET). VET relevance is determined by meeting the standards set by the sector. Education providers can only be held accountable by the sector for the quality of output if the desired craftsmanship is defined in a clear and measurable manner. The role of VET providers is to address this and provide their support for it. An important element is, therefore, to have a common vocabulary and to apply it in a consistent (standardized) and efficient way for all jobs concerned. A common language between the worlds of education and employment creates a connection where VET providers can refer to it to describe the learning outcomes of their curricula and anticipate future skills needs, understanding better labour market trends. Furthermore, a common vocabulary between people and jobs helps people in finding the job that best matches their skills. Relevance of VET for labour in the EQAVET 6 perspective depends on the satisfaction of both employers and employees with the professional competence acquired by the VET programme. In other words: VET results should meet the job requirements defined by labour demand. However, as far as job profiles are made and used by companies, they hardly articulate the (level of) knowledge, skills and competences as a useful target for vocational qualifications and VET curricula. The Occupational Profiles needed to support the dialogue between and the collaboration of VET and labour have to:

  1. Bridge the communication gap between education and work
  2. Match (online) people to jobs
  3. Support mobility
  4. Enable education and training in the shift to learning outcomes
  5. Support skills aptitude and statistics

HOW TO MAKE JOB PROFILES?

Identifying and classifying skills, competences, qualifications and occupations relevant for the European labour market and education and training. Employers tend to think in term of tasks to be performed, authorizations and responsibilities, while VET providers tend to do so in terms of the knowledge and skills (and/or competences) to be acquired. Providing VET schools with well-defined standards for job requirements is a must and the job profile should combine both points of view. Primarily, it is necessary to establish a fruitful dialogue between the two worlds and find a common vocabulary: sectors should provide VET schools with clear Occupational Profiles, VET schools can participate in the discussion with the sector and produce draft profiles.

Companies use different words to describe the same job. Seeking coherence in job description vocabulary means making craftsmanship transparent and occupations mutually comparable. To this end, we standardize the description for the sets of tasks and professional abilities to be used in job descriptions, as well as the scales for ability levels: one list of tasks to perform and one list of professional abilities to possess. This way, jobs are defined within a common domain and companies can compose their own Occupational Profiles, using the same elements and starting from the same job example. In addition to task/competence-profiles, occupations are also described in characterizations and matched with relevant VET programmes available.

Summarizing, to compile an extensive job profile, include:

  • II.A general characteristics
  • II.B tasks
  • II.C abilities (based on a common list for the professional domain concerned)
  • II.D overview of the corresponding VET programmes

The description of this type of information can be based on different sources such as:

  • vacancy texts
  • job description
  • job ranking of the collective labour agreements, (for the purpose of salary scaling)
  • existing qualifications, etc.
  • Inspiring sources such as 0*Net and ESCO

CRITICAL CONDITIONS

The common denominator for the range of items could result limiting for companies, who should be free to compose their own job profiles with wider items. Furthermore, the validation of the contents by various companies could be difficult because of the variety in their scale and character.

The alternative, and a more useful solution to creating a final job description, is to produce an Occupational Profile that helps facilitate the dialogue between iVET providers and employers/the labour market, especially reflecting on job requirements and students’ performance.