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The transition from college to the workforce can be challenging; however, a new University of Minnesota study shows how higher education institutions can more adequately prepare students for life after school. While technical and subject matter expertise are important, researchers found that critical thinking and communication skills are some of the most valued by employers.
"In the U.S., there is a perception by employers that college graduates are unprepared for a workforce that is becoming technologically more advanced and increasingly globalized," said Joseph Rios, the study's lead author and assistant professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development.
Context - Employees - Expertise - Combination - Skills
"Such a context requires employees to possess more than technical and subject-matter expertise by demanding a combination of cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal skills. Though there is agreement that students should be developing these skills, there has been little consensus among practitioners and researchers on which ones are of greatest importance for workplace success."
In the study, published in Educational Researcher, Rios and his colleagues conducted a content analysis of 142,000 job advertisements. They ranked skills described in the advertisements by demand (i.e., number of times mentioned) and also examined how demand varied by degree level and degree field requirements.
The study found that:
oral communication, written communication, collaboration and problem-solving skills were demanded by a minimum of 50% more than all other skills;
Employers - Skills - Pairing
when employers demanded multiple skills, the most in-demand pairing was oral and written...
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