Back-to-school season is right around the corner. But this year, consumers under the age of 21 might not be the only ones working on their reading, writing and math skills. The latest American Management Association survey finds that businesses require excellence in basic skills along with other competencies that fewer employees seem to have these days.
According to the 2010 Critical Skills Survey, business executives expect their employees to have specific abilities – often called the 4 Cs – that extend beyond the traditional literacy component. In addition, employers measure employees on this basis during performance reviews at the following rates:
- Communication skills 80.4%
- Critical thinking 72.4%
- Collaboration 71.2%
- Creativity 57.3%
As the economy improves and businesses begin to hire, executives believe the 4 Cs skill set will be necessary to:
- Keep up with the pace of change in business 91%
- Maintain an edge in the increasingly global business environment 86.5%
- Accomplish needed work in new ways 77.5%
- Thrive in new organizational structures 66.3%
The problem is executives consistently say only about half of their employees rate higher than average when it comes to critical thinking or collaboration. In addition, fewer than half of executives believe their employees excel in effective communications or creativity and innovation.
To address this problem, employers are turning to one-on-one coaching, mentoring, professional development and training, and in-house job training. The gap between existing competencies and desired skill sets means that educational institutions and consultants have an opportunity to market their programs to businesses to improve the bottom line.[Source: AMA 2010 Critical Skills Survey. American Management Association. 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 30 Jul. 2010]