The Skills That Matter In Today’s Working World

Anyone who has dug into our US education system can tell you that the skills being taught are not aligned with what is needed in today’s jobs. In fact, anyone who has made the transition from college to full-time employment will often say “i didn’t learn anything until I started working” (raises hand).

The Skills Our Workforce Needs

This week Laszlo Bock shared a short update from the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. He highlighted multiple frameworks that aim to identify what is needed in the modern working world. One framework from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning identified competencies rarely talked about in education such as self-management, social awareness and responsible decision making:

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning:

This aligns with research from David Deming at Harvard on the occupations growing the fastest and the skills associate with each:

As you can see the skills growing the fastest require social skills AND math skills. Another chart highlighting this research shows a similar trend:

In today’s working world some of the best organizations are investing heavily in developing these skills in their workers (think GE, McKinsey, PwC). However, most of the workforce is being left behind. It’s not their fault that schools failed to prepare them for today’s economy.

This is a major business opportunity and Startups like General Assembly and MissionU are already taking action, but at the college level. I do have faith that the education system will catch up but there is still a huge gap that needs to be addressed.

About Paul Millerd

Paul is a writer, creator, and curious human that is passionate about how people can reimagine their relationship with work to do things that matter. He published The Pathless Path in 2022.