The _Economic Times,_ one of India's leading newspapers, recently surveyed 30,000 workers in the world's second largest nation on which skills they considered most essential to success in the workplace. the first three skills, by a wide margin, were:
- Leadership skill
- Relationship management
These three were followed by the skills of team-work, domain expertise, out-of-box thinking and analytical skills.
In the United States, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asked employers which skills were most important in a candidate for a job in their organization. Here's the list, in order of importance:
- Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization
- Ability to work in a team structure
- Ability to make decisions and solve problems
- Ability to plan, organize and prioritize work
- Ability to obtain and process information
- Ability to analyze quantitative data
- Technical knowledge related to the job
- Proficiency with computer software programs
- Ability to create and/or edit written reports
- Ability to sell or influence others
The University of Kent in England summarized the findings of several European studies of what employers are looking for in their new workforce. The top ten skills are:
- VERBAL COMMUNICATION: Able to express your ideas clearly and confidently in speech
- TEAMWORK: Work confidently within a group
- COMMERCIAL AWARENESS: Understand the commercial realities affecting the organisation.
- ANALYSING & INVESTIGATING: Gather information systematically to establish facts & principles. Problem solving.
- INITIATIVE/SELF MOTIVATION: Able to act on initiative, identify opportunities & proactive in putting forward ideas & solutions
- DRIVE: Determination to get things done. Make things happen & constantly looking for better ways of doing things.
- WRITTEN COMMUNICATION: Able to express yourself clearly in writing
- PLANNING & ORGANISING: Able to plan activities & carry them through effectively.
- FLEXIBILITY: Adapt successfully to changing situations & environments
- TIME MANAGEMENT: Manage time effectively, prioritising tasks and able to work to deadlines.
In Asia, the Americas, and in Europe, the lists of essential skills share many common elements. And most are skills that you won't find listed specifically in the curricula or syllabi in your school or college. Nor do these lists match up with the Common Core State Standards we've heard so much about. The most important skills, according to the world's employers, seem not to be narrowly technical, but profoundly human: to communicate, to work with others, to figure things out for yourself.
These are not the easiest skills to teach, or to measure. But unless we do, the output of our schools will not match the input needs of the modern economy.