Success in today’s economy? It’s still about readin’, writin’, and cypherin’.
According to an article in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education, though most employers look for degreed candidates to fill positions, they are disappointed in the candidates’ lack of preparation in basic skills.
So, what are the major job skills employers are looking for?
Here are a few direct quotes from the article (italics are mine):
“Sine Nomine Associates, Mr. Boyes’s firm, works with high-tech companies like Cisco and IBM. However, it’s fundamental abilities that he says recent graduates lack, like how to analyze large amounts of data or construct a cogent argument. ‘It’s not a matter of technical skill,’ he says, ‘but of knowing how to think.'”
“While fresh hires had the right technical know-how for the job, said most employers in the survey, they grumbled that colleges weren’t adequately preparing students in written and oral communication, decision-making, and analytical and research skills.”
Another highlight from the article: On the job experience (internships) can be more valuable than a high GPA.
To me, the article demonstrates precisely why literacy and writing skills are so very important. It’s also why the particular degree a student earns is less important than the skills they acquire en route to that degree.
One way to prepare early for success in a rapidly evolving work life, whether with an employer or as an entrepreneur, is to learn critical thinking skills, high-level oral and written communication skills, and practical, apprentice-like skills from the ground up.
As a public school teacher, my colleagues and I worked hard to help students gain these skills, before they entered college. But I believe that in today’s test-driven, fear-based educational environment, traditional educators have fewer and fewer opportunities to teach these essential skills–skills that no timed pen and paper or scantron test can truly measure–skills that our children will need in order to solve increasingly complex global problems.
Writer and Life Coach
Interested in helping your child gain stronger writing skills? I offer writing workshops for young people.