Wyn Davies, Global Head of Cognitive Ability at Pearson TalentLens, asks why an increasing number of employers are citing the importance of critical thinking ability (CTA) in their staff.
A Google search on Critical Thinking Ability (CTA) delivers over 26M results. But what is CTA exactly and why is there increasing organisational interest in the importance of this ability in their employees?
Critical thinking is the ability to look at a situation and clearly understand it from multiple perspectives whilst separating facts from opinions and assumptions.
The demand for Critical thinking has precipitated its introduction as AS and A level courses in a number of UK schools, whilst many prestigious universities and business schools around the world measure critical thinking ability levels in course applicants. The GMAT entrance exam for MBA courses has a section measuring CTA. Increasing numbers of employers measure critical thinking ability in job applicants and develop it in existing staff as part of staff and management development programmes.
A 2013 critical thinking white paper cites the following example - when more than 400 senior HR professionals in the USA were asked in a 2006 survey to name the most important skill their employees will need in the next five years, critical thinking ranked the highest – surpassing innovation or the application of information technology. With globalisation and the increased speed of business, employees at every level are facing an increasingly complex flow of information.
Work settings are changing rapidly, and employees are moving into new roles, often with limited direction. Employees can no longer rely on others to make key decisions. They often must make them on their own, and quickly. And the decisions have to be good ones.
If they fall short, there may be no time to recover. Good decisions require focusing on the most relevant information, asking the right questions, and separating reliable facts from false assumptions – all elements of critical thinking. And yet too few employees possess these essential skills.
Increasing numbers of employers are reporting that academic results alone offer insufficient evidence to make hiring decisions. For example, when a job requires an applicant to have a 2:1 degree and it receives 100 applications meeting the criteria, more information is required, in order to be able to sift out or progress the candidates.
Pearson TalentLens has a renowned psychometric assessment of CTA the Watson-Glaser (WGCTA). It also delivers an online Critical Thinking University and a number of workshops aimed at developing critical thinking ability.
The WGCTA measures five areas that are the building blocks of critical thinking.
To find out more about Critical Thinking Ability and ways to measure and develop it contact TalentLens
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