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The Career Development Framework for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia V2

Understanding Career Development and Employability Skills
Career Development Skills

To do well in today’s work environment, people need to be self-reliant managers of their own careers. As well as having the technical skills and abilities needed to work in a particular role, people also need the skills, knowledge and attitudes to make good career decisions. The skills, knowledge, and attitudes people need to manage their own careers can be understood as a set of competencies to be developed and strengthened over time.

Career management skills, or competencies, are becoming increasingly important for success in any type of work environment.  They can be learnt through formal career development programs in schools, or developed in a range of family, community and workplace environments.

In an environment where people move frequently between jobs, and between learning and work roles, they need to learn and experience the benefits of:

  • Developing and maintaining a positive and confident sense of self;
  • Fostering positive career beliefs and values; and
  • Interacting positively and respectfully with others.

To take advantage of opportunities, people need to:

  • Use career information to understand how the labour market works; and
  • Understand the relationship between learning pathways and work opportunities.

They also need the confidence and opportunity to seek out a variety of work experiences to help inform their career preferences and to make sound decisions that lead to the achievement of their learning, work and life goals.

Having engaged in exploratory activities, people need the skills to construct their own careers, by learning how best to:

  • Engage with a diverse range of people to develop networks that enhance their career and the careers of others;
  • Plan for and direct the building of their unique career; and
  • Develop the transferable skills that generate and sustain employment.

In summary, developing the ten career management competencies of the Framework will:

  • Help young people to transition successfully to post secondary education and training or a job after school;
  • Encourage all students to value learning by linking it to their hopes and dreams for the future; and
  • Help adults to transition successfully between learning and work roles that support their family and community responsibilities[1].


[1] Adapted from the Australian Blueprint for Career Development.

Employability Skills

Employability skills are typically defined as the generic skills that employers look for when seeking to recruit and/or promote individuals in their workplace. They are the general underpinning skills an individual is required to demonstrate as part of his/her occupational performance. Acquisition of these skills, alongside the relevant technical skills, assists an individual to transfer competence to other occupations and work contexts.

The ways employability skills are defined differs from country to country and between educational institutions but employers typically seek individuals who are:

  • able to do their job competently and be effective as soon as possible;
  • willing to learn new skills and use these in times of change;
  • interact effectively in teams and communicate effectively; and
  • able to analyse, critique, and demonstrate leadership or vision.

The following employability or general workplace skills have been identified by the Saudi Skills Standards organisation following extensive consultation with KSA employers.


Skill Elements and attributes
Information (collecting and processing)
  • Testing assumptions, taking the context of data and circumstances into account
  • Identifying information sources
  • Data collection techniques, methodologies and resources
  • Data storage and security
  • Confidentiality and ethics
  • Working with people of different ages, genders, races, religions or political persuasions
  • Working as an individual and as a member of a team
  • Knowing how to define a role as part of the team
  • Applying teamwork skills to a range of situations eg. problem solving
  • Identifying the strengths of each team member
  • Coaching, mentoring and giving feedback
Problem Solving
  • Developing creative, innovative solutions
  • Developing practical solutions
  • Showing independence and initiative in identifying and solving problems
  • Solving problems in teams
  • Applying a range of strategies to problem solving
  • Using mathematics including budgeting and financial management to solve problems
  • Applying problem solving strategies across a range of areas
  • Resolving customer concerns in relation to complex project issues
Planning and Organising
  • Managing time and priorities – setting timelines, coordinating tasks for self and with others
  • Being resourceful
  • Taking initiative and making decisions
  • Adapting resource allocations to cope with contingencies
  • Establishing clear project goals and deliverables
  • Allocating people and other resources to tasks
  • Planning the use of resources including time management
  • Participating in continuous improvement and planning processes
  • Developing a vision and accompanying proactive plan
  • Predicting issues and outcomes by identifying risks, evaluating alternatives and applying evaluation criteria
  • Collecting, analysing and organising information
  • Understanding basic business systems and their relationships
Self Management and Responsibility
  • Having a personal vision and goals
  • Evaluating and monitoring own performance
  • Having knowledge and confidence in own ideas and vision
  • Articulating own ideas and vision
  • Taking responsibility
  • Listening and understanding
  • Speaking clearly and directly in one-on-one, small and larger group situations
  • Writing to the needs of the audience
  • Negotiating responsively
  • Reading independently
  • Empathising
  • Using numeracy effectively
  • Understanding the needs of internal and external customers
  • Persuading effectively
  • Establishing and using networks
  • Being assertive
  • Sharing information
  • Using professional etiquette
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Having a range of basic IT skills
  • Applying IT as a management tool
  • Using IT to organise data
  • Being willing to learn new IT skills
  • Having the OHS knowledge to apply technology
Culture and Religion: Knowledge
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Religion and self-understanding
  • Religion and social awareness
  • Social and cultural practices and taboos
  • Diversity as it links to religion and culture
  • Religion in the workplace
Innovative and Entrepreneurial Skills
  • Adapting to new situations
  • Developing a strategic, creative, long-term vision
  • Being creative
  • Identifying opportunities not obvious to others
  • Translating ideas into actions
  • Generating a range of options
  • Initiating innovative solutions
Lifelong Learning
  • Managing own learning
  • Contributing to the learning community at the workplace
  • Using a range of mediums to learn – mentoring, peer support, networking, IT courses
  • Applying learning to technical issues (e.g. learning about products) and ‘people issues’ (e.g. interpersonal and cultural aspects of work)
  • Having enthusiasm for ongoing learning
  • Being willing to learn in any setting – on and off the job
  • Being open to new ideas and techniques
  • Being prepared to invest time and effort in learning new skills
  • Acknowledging the need to learn in order to accommodate change
  • Assessing personal progress and identifying areas for learning


The following personal attributes are also valued by employers worldwide as contributing to the employability of individuals:

  • Loyalty and commitment;
  • Honesty and integrity;
  • Enthusiasm;
  • Reliability;
  • Personal presentation;
  • Common sense;
  • Positive self-esteem;
  • A sense of humour;
  • A balanced attitude to work and home life;
  • An ability to deal with pressure;
  • Motivation; and
  • Flexibility and adaptability.

The Relationship Between Career Development Skills and Employability Skills

There are many ways of conceptualising the important relationship between career development and employability skills, as there are obvious connections between the two sets of competencies. 

Thus, it is critically important that individuals have both sets of skills: firstly to choose and develop the type of work that matches best their current life, learning and work goals; and, secondly the generic skills and personal attributes that employers value. In Saudi, the development of a framework that combines both skill sets makes it easier for individuals to develop these in alignment.

The following path to employability, depicted by Dacre, Pool and Sewell, shows that career development learning, which is the primary focus of the Framework, is an important area of learning for the development of employability skills and attributes


As Dacre, Pool and Sewell demonstrate, career development occurs through numerous experiences during the life journey. This experiential process of learning in work and life is broader than school-based learning and includes the family, community, and social networks.

The Framework captures this experiential, whole-of-life approach. It combines the development of career development and employability skills across the span of a person’s life. This is achieved through the design of the Framework, which aligns career development and employability skills competencies.

Indeed, Competency 10 is dedicated to the development of employability skills, and as such, the Framework reflects the experiential, phased nature of learning that leads to employability. Each career management skill within the Framework supports and leads to Competency 10, and encourages learning methods that continue to emerge in a 21st century society, where digital resources and networking are key factors in successful career development