New Skills Needed in the 21st Century
Muriel Eason | 10/21/13

According to a study just published by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) — a global assessment of skill levels — the technological revolution that began in the last decades of the 20th century has affected nearly every aspect of life in the 21st: from how we “talk” with our family and friends, to how we shop, to how and where we work
Quicker and more efficient transportation and communication services have made it easier for people, goods, services and capital to move around the world, leading to the globalization of economies.

New means of communication and types of  services have changed the way individuals interact with governments, service suppliers and each other.

These social and economic transformations have changed the demand for skills

While there are many factors responsible for these changes,  technological developments, particularly information and communications are a large part. Technological skills and capabilities, have profoundly altered what are considered to be the “key information-processing skills” that individuals need as economies and societies evolve in the 21st century.

The need for traditional skills is waning. But the demand for  information-processing and other high-level cognitive and interpersonal skill is growing rapidly.

A shortage of skills is associated with high unemployment. “Hype? Not really," says Ed Morrison, Purdue Center for Regional Development: Economic Policy Advisor. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. has produced the first international report on adult skills. The report compares the U.S. among other developed countries. The results?”

The US is lagging seriously behind. “We are now in the back of the pack...”

Look at Anthony Carnevale, perhaps our country’s leading workforce development expert, as he explains the results and the consequences.

This first OECD Skills Outlook presents the initial results of the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), which evaluates the skills of adults in 24 countries. It provides insights into the availability of some of the key skills and how they are used at work and at home. A major component is the direct assessment of key information-processing skills: literacy, numeracy and problem solving in the context of technology-rich environments.
You can download the book here for free. (466 pages, PDF)


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