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Employers Deplore Low Levels of Basic Job Readiness Skills

Occupations with college-educated workers have been growing much faster than others...but entry level workers can't deliver basic job readiness.

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Analysis of data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) indicates that occupations with a high intensity of analytic and interactive skills tend to have large shares of workers with post-secondary education. Moreover, occupations with a high concentration of college-educated workers have been growing much faster than others.

This analysis is consistent with another set of results from the employer survey conducted by The Conference Board. Respondents noted that graduates from two- and four-year college programs were on average better prepared to meet the challenges of the labor market than high school graduates. Specifically, those with only a high school degree were reported to be deficient in professionalism/work ethic and critical thinking/problem solving.

Job Readiness Skills Lacking

The Conference Board also found that their survey respondents believed most recent high school graduates lacked the basic skills of reading, writing, and math that were deemed necessary by employers. Among these basic skills, employers deemed this group to be most deficient in writing.

Employers judged nearly three-quarters of high school graduates as unable to write at a basic level, for which competency includes knowledge of both spelling and grammar.

These rudimentary skills, combined with the applied skills of problem solving and interacting with others, are critical for workers in the current labor market according to Donna Klein, President and CEO of Corporate Voices for Working Families (a sponsor of The Conference Board Report). One member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) echoes this view in reporting that one-half of the job applicants to his large company cannot do basic 8th grade math. Other members of the PERAB report that many workers do not possess the basic reading and math skills necessary for even entry-level work.

The occupational demands of the future are expected to require skills obtained through post-secondary education and training.

SOURCE: "PREPARING THE WORKERS OF TODAY FOR THE JOBS OF TOMORROW" Report by the President's Council of Economic Advisers

Read the full report at the White House website

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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