What Skills Future Employees Need to Learn Now

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The American Management Association conducted a Critical Skills Survey back in late 2012 that asked 768 managers and executives various questions about the presence of critical skills (Defined as the 4 C's: Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity) within their workforce. You can find the full report here (http://www.amanet.org/uploaded/2012-Critical-Skills-Survey.pdf), but in a nutshell, most of the managers and executives responded that their employees are average at best in these four skill areas. This is an increasing concern, as 74.6% of the respondents stated that these skill areas will become increasingly important and crucial in the next several years.

As mentioned before, the skills are defined as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. When asked about when would be the ideal time to learn these skills, 59.1% of respondents said during college, stating it to be easier to learn compared to having been working for a while.

Despite all of this information, we see the majority of college curriculum to be centered around particular subject matter relevant to students' majors. Classes, workshops, and seminars that focus on soft skills such as the 4 C's are too few and far between.

This is the current state of soft skill mastery within the US. Too many students are receiving an imbalanced education that doesn't focus enough on the necessary soft skills to excel in their fields. How can we address this issue in a meaningful way? What's the most effective way of introducing these learning targets, and how can they be integrated into current subject matter curriculum?

As a Business major, I have been fortunate enough to gain a good understanding of these skills and their implications, but recognize that the learning opportunities I've been granted are not always available across disciplines. How can educators reemphasize the importance of structured methodologies and equip this generation of students with the skill sets that will allow them to lead, collaborate, and work more effectively?

The discrepancy of skills has become a point of concern that I wish to pursue to fix in the long-term. If there are any educators out there who have insight, advice, or means of collaboration for the future, it would be much appreciated.

Steven Yang is a 3rd year undergraduate student at the Haas School of Business. Contact him at [email protected] for further contact/inquiries.

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