Skills Needed for 21st Century Jobs

“Despite our high rate of unemployment, 300,000 jobs go unfilled largely because many of the unemployed lack the skills needed today as a result of technological progress.” -Kim Campbell

A study in 1997 showed that 20% of the workforce are professional, less than 20% are unskilled workers and more than 60% are skilled workers. But sadly so many jobs go unfilled because people don’t have the skills necessary due to a lack of enough education. While education has always been valuable, the growing importance of knowledge and skills in the workplace have made it more valuable than ever. Some people finish high school, some finish at least four years of college but jobs of the 21st century are requiring more education than that. Businesses are looking for people with more skills and more qualifications and the education system hasn’t prepared people of today for the new world of jobs that keep growing. “Today, many companies are reporting that their number one constraint on growth is the inability to hire workers with the necessary skills.” -Bill Clinton

As the CEO of UPS described it in 2005, “We look for [employees] who can learn how to learn.” Many businesses are looking for employees who are able to act independently and can solve problems on their own, who can interact with customers and collaborate with colleagues, who are resourceful and able to get information needed for their jobs, and most importantly have the ability to learn new skills as the job market keeps changing.

Technology has, and still is, quickly becoming rooted in a vast majority of jobs the 21st century has to offer.  “The technology sector is enormous and it is continuing to grow. There is now hardly a business in the developed world which does not depend to a greater or lesser degree on information technology and, in many cases, the entire business requires a well-functioning technological system to operate.” Information technology is the use of technologies from computing, electronics, and telecommunications to process and distribute information in digital and other forms. Many businesses are making technology more intertwined with the everyday working process and as such more employees need to be able to imply knowledge of technology into their jobs.

“It should come as no surprise that the fastest growing jobs require additional education and training, with the greatest increases in technology-related fields.” As the job market changes, people have to make the necessary changes with it. More skills are necessary, the ability to learn how to learn and having an understanding of technology are all ways that people must change.

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