The report, titled Life in the21st Century Workforce: A National Perspective, was commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and University of Phoenix. According to the report, employees agree that interpersonal skills, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving are important to providing the most benefit to employers and the workforce alike.
According to a press release, in today’s workplace, the labor force considers past work experience (50%) to be the most important factor when companies are making hiring decisions, outdistancing people management and communication skills (27%). However, when it comes to being promoted, workers are far more likely to consider people management and communication skills (46%) as more important than past work experience (38%).
“Our nation is facing a critical disconnect between the skills our workforce brings to the job, and what businesses need,” said Greg Cappelli, co-CEO of Apollo Group, parent company of University of Phoenix. “Despite the country’s current unemployment levels, there are literally millions of jobs available for people with the right skills and the right education. We must look to the future and focus on providing students with a relevant education – one that prepares them with the expertise they need for successful careers in the workforce of tomorrow.”
The key findings of the Life in the 21st Century Workforce study include:
Heading Back to School
• Eight-in-10 employers (80%) believe that education is critical to ensuring that workers have the competencies necessary to advance, and 72% of the labor pool agree.
• U.S. workers believe that going back to school will have a direct impact on their career: the most common reasons for going back to school are to advance their career (89%), increase their salary (89%), or gain training for a specific job (88%).
• Employers believe that increasing the number of workers who complete post-secondary education programs and receive a degree or credential will contribute to the success of their company.
Landing a Job vs. Getting Promoted
• In today’s workplace, the labor force considers past work experience (50%) to be the most important factor when companies are making hiring decisions, outdistancing people management and communication skills (27%).
• When it comes to being promoted, workers are more likely to consider people management and communication skills (46%) as more important than past work experience (38%).
• Employees (77%) see continuing education as vitally important for success in their careers.
Walking the Talk
• Forty-six percent of workforce respondents say their company pays all (17%) or some portion (29%) of tuition. Meanwhile, 50% of employers say they have a tuition assistance program.
• In addition, 57% of employers interviewed offer flexible schedules to accommodate post-secondary education and training.
Choosing a Program for Success
• Business leaders place a premium on post-secondary education programs preparing individuals for success in the workplace (56%), providing individuals with core academic knowledge and intellectual skills (51%), and providing individuals with the workforce skills and knowledge for success in a specific career (50%).
• Conversely, employees place more weight on program elements that affect their day-to-day life; a flexible schedule is the most important attribute for workers (21%), while 16% say both cost of tuition and practical learning experiences are the most important.
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