From Critical Thinking to Digital Skills - Sets of Skills are the Future

Soft Skills vs hard skills – we all know that today’s employers are looking for candidates that have the right mix of skill sets; but whilst hard skills can be taught and shown through certification for example, soft skills such as interpersonal skills, critical thinking skills, are conversely more difficult for candidates to demonstrate.

But what if we told you that recent research suggests there are 14 new Foundational Skills, split across three groups have been identified as the crucial skills needed for employees and job seekers to thrive in the future. The recent research has been carried out by Burning Glass Technologies in partnership with the Business-Higher Education Forum, driven by changes in our digital economy they set out to find what skills are most desirable, and high in-demand, as well as reviewing how they interact with one another.

The recent research which focuses on the US job market, identified 14 Foundational Skills which could be split into three groups:

Human Skills apply social, creative and critical intelligence to problems.

  • These skills – critical thinking, creativity, communication, analytical skills, learning styles, collaboration, and relationship building – appear on many lists of sought-after “soft skills.”

Digital Building Block Skills are increasingly useful outside traditional digitally intense job families. These skills are especially useful to analysts and data-driven decision makers.

  • These skills include analysing data, managing data, software development, computer programming, and digital security and privacy.

Business Enabler Skills allow the other skills to be put to work in practical situations, and include project management, business process, communicating data, and digital design.

Less than a fifth currently claim skills in all three groups on their resumes. Individually, each of these skills are valuable, but what is most desirable, according to the research, are bundles of these skills – from across all three groups.

So how do you compare?

Whilst it is unlikely that you will need all 14 Foundational Skills, working across the group has definite advantages from salary premiums, job and learning and development opportunities; essential in today’s in a fast changing job market.

At Pearson TalentLens we focus on providing solutions that help organisations to sift, select and develop employees. With our new Online Testing Platform in place you can now create batteries of tests that will support you in across a variety of skills including critical thinking, cognitive ability, numerical and abstract reasoning skills, and English Language Proficiency. Visit our product portfolio page or contact our team to learn more.

What do these skills mean for the future?

Smart Cities are one place where these Foundational Skills are reportedly in greater demand. The research highlighted that ‘Seven in 10 job openings in these cities ask for at least one New Foundational Skill, compared to half of job openings as a whole. (US data). Whilst the development of Smart Cities in the UK might be slow progress – ATG Access found that ‘A quarter of British adults are willing to fund smart city solutions’ – the demand for Foundational Skills are only likely to grow over time and generate more positive outcomes for organisations, educators and employees alike.

So where do you view yourself with regards to these Foundational Skills? How many skill sets do your employees combine? Share your thoughts with us on twitter @TalentLensUK or LinkedIn.