Showing posts with label labor skill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label labor skill. Show all posts

Monday, September 8, 2014

Harvard Report Highlights Divergent Threats to Long-Term U.S. Competitiveness

Harvard School of Business released its 2013-2014 U.S. competitiveness report that unveils difficulties related to a lack of skills, employment opportunities, small business development, infrastructure and governmental effectiveness.  Highly skilled professionals, medium size businesses and large corporations have successfully weathered the effects of the recession but are leaving behind many in the skilled labor and middle class sectors of society. The results point to a divergence in society that may slow growth in the future and damage long-term American competitiveness. 

The education system is seen as not meeting current needs for the development of new skills to create a stronger workforce. Companies desire to develop stronger internal skills training but have not yet matched this need within their policies.  Collaborating employment needs with the education system will help in narrowing the gaps between employers and school decision-makers.

Two separate societies are developing where highly skilled and educated individuals are employable while those who have not achieved this level struggle to find higher paying jobs.  Collaborating with public education, experimenting with higher education, and encouraging in-house corporate training can make a difference in preparedness. 

Even though corporate profits have risen to higher levels there is a concern over transportation infrastructure. Current infrastructure is seen as slowing down progress and lacks a unified strategy to create stronger platforms for development.  The lower cost transactions of moving resources and information is needed to encourage opportunities for business development.

Small businesses have suffered during the recession and have not regained their initial positions. It is recommended that a stronger effort to develop and foster small business as an avenue of innovation and skill development is important for the long-term viability of the nation.  Small business is an important contributing sector to employment opportunities and national adaptability.

Executives are more optimistic in recent years but regularly search outside the U.S. for employees with the right skills. They could better develop their internal training and put pressure on the public education system to better prepare students. Government also needs to put aside their partisan differences and start developing proactive policies that take America into its next level of efficient and effective governance.  Without a stronger platform of infrastructure development many of the gains organizations have achieved will plateau as they run into larger policy constraints that hamper businesses opportunities to invest and grow.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Competitive Skills of the 21st Century

Skills are the life blood of any economy. It is hard to do much without the skills to think it, make it and sell it. Businesses seek college graduates with general skills that raise their competitiveness. A study by Holtzman & Kraft (2011) compared and contrasted a study by the Richard Stockton College and one by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to come to conclusions about the skills needed in the 21st Century.

The essential skills of the 21st Century employers identified as very important or important were: Interpersonal skills(100%); Time management (100%); Speaking/oral communications (98%); Ethical Understanding (98%); and, Adapting to change/being flexible (96%). Employer’s ratings were solicited through a survey response.

There was an essential difference between the two studies.  When the participant’s businesses worked and sold within the local market they were less interested in graduates with a global perspective while those who sold on international markets were more interested in hiring those with a global perspective. The company’s market focus impacted the type of perspective needed.

Interpersonal skills, time management, oral communications, ethical understanding and flexibility fit within an employer’s needs. Employees who can work well with others, use their time well, communication with others, have an internal value system and were open to change were simply worth more than those who do not hold these skills.  Employers desired colleges to foster these concepts for greater relevance to their needs.

The authors do not move into this concept but part of those needs is based within the constant modern transition of businesses. Change is a fact of life and employees that know how to obtain information, focus on their tasks, and change when the situation calls for it are better than those who cannot. An organization with a higher percentage of employees who cannot change are likely going to have difficulty during transition periods or when new processes are needed to meet market demand.

The global perspective helps employees understand how and where the company and its offerings fit within the global market. A better understanding of the market helped employees put within perspective their work function and the needs of their global demographics. This may have an impact on the micro choices employees make in any particular moment thereby creating greater alignment between thought, action, and outcome.

The study was a comparison but does highlight the difference and similarities between global and domestic producers. The basic skills may stay the same but the overall perspective is different. Higher education should consider such needs when preparing students to compete in the marketplace in order to find stronger employ-ability and greater economic competitiveness. Starting at a younger age and encouraging such skills throughout one’s educational career may be beneficial for full development. 

Holtzman, D. & Kraft, E. (2011). Skills needed in the 21st Century workplace: a comparison of feedback from undergraduate business alumni and employers with a national study. Business Education & Accreditation, 3 (1).