Employers often feel workforce readiness deficiencies as talent shortages, particularly when it comes to locating candidates with the necessary skills. According to the executive summary report of the Society for Human Resources Management 2007 Symposium on the Workforce Readiness of the Future, “employers have not clearly stated the skills and capabilities they desire, and educational system is not producing the quantity and quality of graduates needed.” Understanding what employers need is imperative for making useful recommendations for changes to education policy and curriculum in order to produce graduates that are well equipped for the workplace. What, then, are the skills, activities and content areas that are most urgently needed in the workplace today? Do beliefs about the workplace skills, activities and content areas that are most important differ between HR professionals and employees themselves?
How Has the Importance of Various Employee Skills/Practices Changed in the Past Two Years? (HR Professionals)
- The top skills rated as much more important today compared with two years ago for both experienced workers and new entrants to the workforce were adaptability/flexibility (47% and 46%, respectively) and critical thinking/problem solving (41% and 35%, respectively).
- Other top-rated skills for experienced workers were leadership (37%), professionalism/work ethic (37%) and teamwork/collaboration (35%).
- For new entrants to the workforce, other top-rated skills were professionalism/work nnethic (31%), information technology application (30%), teamwork/collaboration (26%) and diversity (26%).
- For experienced workers, the least important skill was mathematics (7%), and for new entrants to the workforce it was entrepreneurship (4%), according to HR professionals.