Will our future entry level workforce be competitive and competent?
Are we ready to build a nation full of entrepreneurs and world class workers?
I highly recommend you read the study published by the The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management, entitled:
“Are They Really Ready To Work? Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce”
According to this study of 431 companies in the US, representing over 2 million employees in a variety of industries and geographic areas, the future is bleak.
“The future U.S. workforce is here—and it is woefully ill-prepared for the demands of today’s (and tomorrow’s) workplace.”
The basic skills and knowledge identified and considered to be very important elements for future employees include:
- English Language (spoken)
- Reading Comprehension (in English)
- Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.)
- Foreign Languages
- Mathematics History/Geography
The applied skills, which are increasing in importance as criteria for success in the future:
- Critical Thinking/Problem Solving—Exercise sound reasoning and analytical thinking; use knowledge, facts, and data to solve workplace problems; apply math and science concepts to problem solving.
- Oral Communications—Articulate thoughts, ideas clearly and effectively; have public speaking skills.
- Written Communications—Write memos, letters and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.
- Teamwork/Collaboration—Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers; be able to work with diverse teams, negotiate and manage conflicts.
- Diversity—Learn from and work collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, races, ages, gender, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints.
- Information Technology Application—Select and use appropriate technology to accomplish a given task, apply computing skills to problem-solving.
- Leadership—Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals; use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others.
- Creativity/Innovation—Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work; communicate new ideas to others; integrate knowledge across different disciplines.
- Lifelong Learning/Self Direction—Be able to continuously acquire new knowledge and skills; monitor one’s own learning needs; be able to learn from one’s mistakes.
- Professionalism/Work Ethic—Demonstrate personal accountability, effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time and workload management.
- Ethics/Social Responsibility—Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior; act responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind.
Excepts from the study:”Business leaders must take an active role in outlining the kinds of skills we need from our employees for our companies and economy to thrive.”
“As business leaders, we must also play a role in creating opportunities for young people to obtain the skills they need. Businesses can partner with schools and other organizations that work with young people to provide internships, job shadowing programs and summer jobs. Businesses can encourage their employees to serve as mentors and tutors. Businesses can invest in programs at the local and national level that have demonstrated their ability to improve outcomes for young people.
Finally, business leaders can use their expertise in innovation and management to help identify
new and creative solutions.”
We assume that our schools are producing graduates with fundamental business abilities, why isn’t it happening?
Are we going to accept that the training of the future workforce is in the hands of private business, and not the educational system?
What is the cost to business when new employees must be given remedial training, just to get them up to entry level?
What is your organization doing right now to ensure, or create talent for the future?
Read the study, pass it around the office and makes sure the boss and human resource people get copies.
This is no longer someone elses’s problem.
“ The numbers don’t bode well for the future—the future of our workforce. It is in our interest to help solve the problem. And business has the capacity to help solve the problem by partnering with education and community leaders to create opportunities for young people to practice the skills they need to be successful.” – Bill Shore, Director, U.S. Community Partners, GlaxoSmithKline
The Conference Board: Are they really ready for work?
Are they really ready to work (PDF)
Most young people entering the US workforce lack critical skills essential for success
Young Workforce is “Ill-Prepared”