This research work was carried out on the office technological skills preferred by employers in some selected business organization in Abia state. To achieve the aim of this study, questionnaire and review of related literature were employed as research tools. Data collected were analyzed using a 5-point linker scale, mean score and standard deviation. A mean of 3.0 and above was accepted as significant while factors less than 3.00 were rejected.
It also showed the type of office technology skills preferred by employers. The benefits derived from the use of these office technological skills were also revealed. It was recommended that NBTE and NUC should upgrade their curriculum as it concerns with the list of equipment to match with the present day office. The government on their own part should also provide institution of higher learning running different business educational programmes sufficient fund to defray the cost of obtaining adequate modern training facilities, which meet with the type available in modern office.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It deserves no doubt that office environment has witnessed great technological advancement in recent years. This is unlike some years back when all correspondence was handwritten with the pen that was dipped in an ink.
Information then moved around, in and out of the office at a rate of extremely slow by todays standard. Most business transaction was trust to memory. But within the few decades the office environment has been under going drastic changes. Alozie (1998) was of the opinion that these changes in office operation came as a result of expansion in organizational sizes, complexities and insatiable need for timely and more accurate information for decision making. Kalaus (185) while commenting on the changing in office equipment observed that the office takes on new responsibilities and performs many new and exciting task as it expands towards the future into uncharted areas. This in essence means that the role of the secretary is no longer restricted to typing and writing in of shorthand. The secretary now becomes involved in other aspect of the organization, which qualifies her to function like the other management team.
In fact, office automation has become the talk of the day in our business offices. This, according to Ahukannah (2000) is the use of self-regulatory machine to execute office tasks formerly performed by manual or semi-mechanical means. As of mechanization of office function, the worker required to possess the office technological skills to meet with the challenges posed by office automation to be able to retain the job.
It is quite obvious that most of the office workers affected in day-today retrenchment exercise are those that do not possess the essential skills like computer literate, which is one of office technological skills. It is therefore relevant for all secretaries and other office in general to acquire the necessary skills that will enable them retain their jobs. According to Anyaduba (1991), Ohakwe (1996) were of the view that for the worker to cope with the myriad and the ever involving entrepreneurial opportunities brought about by science and technology, she the secretary need to possess the knowledge, attitude and skills to operate the telex machine, fax machines, computers, word processors, and the reprographies. The knowledge of the most relevant aspect of computer in the world today known as the Internet in not left out.
Offices technological skills are those abilities that enable a worker perform office duties most effectively and efficiently with the use of automated machines and equipment and help her to be easily employable. Ina society that is in a technological flux such as our, it is compelling monitor the skills that employers of labor want so as to achieve maximum productivity. To achieve this, every work or production process required special skills and competencies. According to Anyaduba (1991) advised that future workers would need higher education in business skills to be able to cope with the rapidly increased volume of production.
In the height of the above, this research work assessed the different kinds of skills required of secretaries in the use of office machines and equipment available in the modern office in some selected business organizations in Abia state; The office technological skills and the general skills they possess to be efficient and effective.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
For many years back much attention has not been given to technological skills acquisition to face the challenges of the modern day office or be able to assume responsibility of the executive and perform the workers multiple roles. A worker may be proficient in the general work and duties of her profession such as taking notes in shorthand, transcribing it, keeping and maintaining records but fails to possess the technological skills she requires in the present office. It is very obvious that there has been a great change in our business office compared to what was obtainable about two decades ago.
Irrespective of the need for improvement in office skills to meet with the changes in the office, many workers are still unskilled technologically. Osuala (1981) stressed the importance of secretarial skills as necessary tools for work and the role of business education in imparting such skills. The worker is expected to acquire the technological skills while on training but the case is often that the modern machines are studied in isolation. Most departments of business studies in some polytechnics are still ill equipped.
According to Okorie (1994) Nigeria adopts the British system of education but while Britain adopts a sound and visual method in the training of her business students Nigeria only rely mostly on the teacher’s power of speech.
However, most of the trainees of the secretaries (lecturers) do not possess the technological skills to impart on their students and as a result resort to the theoretical part of it. This view is supported by Njoku (2002) when she said that the years of the graduation of the lecturers greatly suggest that most of them never saw nor made use of the modern office technology in the course of training. Kalaus (1985) on commenting on the changing office environment posited that many remarkable changes have occurred and are still occurring in the office; changes that will not only affect future operations and employees behaviour, but also programmes in business education.
According to Sofolahun (1989) he said that the acquisition of adequate workshop space in the absence of adequate supply of qualified teacher amounts to failure.
This study therefore, became necessary to determine the skills which the secretary is required to possess in order to meet the modern technological development.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY:
The purpose of this study is to assess the office technological skills preferred by employers in some selected business organization in Abia state. Specifically, the study attempts:
3.1 To determine the kinds of modern machines and
Equipment available for worker’s use in some selected business organization in Abia state.
3.2 To ascertain those office technological skills preferred by employers in some selected business organization in Abia state.
3.3 To determine the professional competencies skills
Possessed by workers working in some selected business organization in Abia state.
3.4 To find out the benefits derived by employers from the
Application of these skills by workers.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study provides information on the drastic changes in today’s office technological and the need for workers to be skilled in the operation of the available modern machines such as electric and electric typewriters, computer, telephone reprographies etc. The employers of labor need competent hands to take care of today’s technology, hence the need for a competent, qualified and skilled worker become apparent.
The study is also significant in its attempt to bring to focus the need for trainees of business students to equip the different business departments well so that the trainee worker will not only acquire the traditional office skills but also be exposed to the latest skills emanating from the availability of automated machines and equipment in order to be efficient and effective in today’s offices.
It is also significant to the National Board for Technical Education to re-design the curriculum for business studies for both National and Higher National Diploma levels to meet with the present demands of today’s office.
It is equally relevant to employers of labor as this provides information on the skills workers should possess; the ones already possessed and the ones ought to be possessed.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions guided this study.
5.1 What office technological skills as perceived by employers
do employers of labor prefer in some selected business organization in Abia state?
5.2 What kind’s modern machines and equipment are available for workers in some selected business organization in Abia state.
5.3 What professional competencies and skills are possessed by secretaries in some selected business organization in Abia State?
5.4 What are the benefits derived by employers from the
Application of these office technological skills by workers working in the selected business organization in Abia state.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to employers occupying the position of Chief Executive, Managing Directors and Personnel Managers with degrees ranging from Higher National Diploma to Bachelors of Science coupled with many years of working experience.
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