Written by: Selly Novela, ST, MM – IBM
It has become a common phenomenon in Indonesia that there is always a gap between the qualities of fresh graduates from university withthe needs of skillful graduates from industry. The industry believes that fresh graduates in general, do not quickly adapt to the needs of the modern industrial world, especially in this globalization era.
It can become a dangerous threat, considering Indonesia is currently facing an era of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This is the era where the chances for foreign workers with high competence toenter Indonesia will be open wider, and increasingly eroded a portion of job opportunity available for graduates in this country.
Data from BadanPusatStatistik (BPS) in February 2014 showed that the number of graduates in Indonesia as many as 398.298 people. This amount represents 4.31% of the total open unemployment rate as much as 7.15 million people. Currently, there are more than 600,000 unemployed graduates in Indonesia. Unemployed intellectuals were mostly graduates of S1, i.e. 420,000 people, and the rest are diploma graduates.
Based on that phenomenon, graduates from university can no longer rely solely on a diploma in finding a job. Therefore,they are required to have the competences and skills for a good job, so they can be absorbed by the labor market quickly.
Based on the tracer study conducted by several universities in Indonesia, bachelor’s competence in the world of work is divided into two aspects: Hard Skills and Soft Skills. Hard skills related to knowledge and theory gained students related with the subjects, while Soft skills are strongly associated with emotional intelligence or things that are not studied formally in university.
Learning Process in high education is more focused on cognitive aspects. This can be seen in student achievement indicated by GPA. GPA is made based on the results of the evaluation from lecturers to students in the learning process. The ability of the students shown by the index of achievement as this is often referred to as a hard skill capabilities.
Hard skills need to be developed as competencies of person to do a good job are really depend on how hard skills that he has. Someone couldn’t make a useful tool if he does not know how to manufacture, the purpose and usefulness of the tool. Healso may not be able to fix something if does not know what exactly should do with the thing.
According to Bahrumsyah (2010), hard skill is a master of science, technology and technical skills related to the field of science. According to Syawal (2010), hard skill is more oriented to develop intelligence quotient (IQ). Both opinions can be concluded that hard skill is the ability to master the technology for the science and technical skills in developing intelligence quotient associated with the field.
Meanwhile, Soft skills are a set of capabilities that affect how we interact with others. Soft skills includes effective communication, creative and critical thinking, team building, as well as other capabilities related to the capacity of the individual’s personality.
According to Ramdhani (2008) in Syawal (2010), soft skills are defined as “Soft skill” used in touch and cooperate with others, or be regarded as interpersonal skills. According to Bahrumsyah, soft skill is a skill to connect with other people (interpersonal skills) and skills to govern themselves (intrapersonal skills) and able to develop to work optimally. From the two opinions mentioned above, there is common basic on the definition of soft skills, which is interpersonal skill.Bahrumsyah added intrapersonal skills, the skills to govern themselves.
As stated above, there are still additional capabilities beyond the interpersonal skills and intrapersonal skills called extra personal skills, such as the ability of a person in spiritual Intelligence (SQ). So it can be concluded that the definition of soft skills is a person’s ability to relate to others (interpersonal skills) and a person’s ability to regulate themselves (intrapersonal skills) as well as additional capabilities of a person in trust / concern for both the Creators and others (extrapersonal skills).
What is included in the soft skills? According toRamdhani (2008) in Syawal (2010), some of the skills included in the category of soft skills are: professional ethic, leadership, creativity, cooperation, initiative, facilitating groups and communities, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. Based on research conducted by the countries in Britain, America and Canada, there are 23 attributes softskills dominant in the employment as report published by Tarmidi in its website. The 23 attributes are sorted by priority interest in the world of work, namely: (1) initiative, (2) ethics/integrity, (3) critical thinking, (4). willingness to learn, (5) commitment, (6) motivation, (7) excited, (8) ability to be relied upon, (9) an oral communication, (10) a creative, (11) analytical capabilities, (12) cope with stress, (13 ) self-management, (14) resolve the issue, (15) ability to summarize, (16) cooperatives, (17) a flexible, (18) work in teams, (19) independent, (20) listen, (21) strong, (22 ) logical argument, (23) time management.
Nowadays high education in Indonesia provides a larger portion to deliver hard skills, or in other word is to be more oriented towards learning hard skills alone,even though soft skills education become urgent needs. In addition, because soft skills become an absolute necessity in the world of work, as well as science or hard skills given to the students considered would quickly become obsolete, along with the progress of time. But to change the curriculum is not an easy thing. Educators should provide loads of soft skills in the learning process. Unfortunately, not all educators are able to understand and apply those skills easily.
Recently,universities in Indonesia, public and private, vying to equip soft skills such as training and workshops to the graduates, either D3 or S1 (source: http: //kepariwisataan.sv.ugm. ac.id/main/galeri/foto). Even in some universities already provide soft skill training to new students (source: https://id-id.facebook.com/PPSMB.Palapa.UGM/posts/3483997596838). The expected output from the activities is the students will have enough knowledge associated with soft skills.
However, the question is, is it enough that soft skill training or workshop which is organized only for a few days, answering the challenge of industry needs?
From the explanation above, where soft skills involved not only with oneself (intrapersonal), but is also associated with another person (interpersonal and extra personal), we need a process that is continuous to do one individual dealing with other individuals, interact to train these capabilities within a certain time.
In other words, the soft skills that absolutely must be put into practice cannot just be learned in a short time. Train and improve communication skills, time management, problem solving ability to train, as well as team work, to be done in the real world of work, not only through theory. The graduates should get the opportunity to train the soft skills within a certain time, so that they get enough experience and are able to analyze and take a correct attitude towards things that are happening in the real working world.
Therefore, if training or workshop will give to graduates, it is expected to be followed up by giving the opportunity to do an internship in the industry. Universities should enhance cooperation with industry so that their graduates can immediately practice the theory and they will better prepare for the real working world. Hopefully, graduates will become a ready workforce and more in line with industry needs.
Published at : Updated