Posts Tagged ‘skills’
What key research competencies will researchers, and professionals need to have in the future? To introduce the topic, we look into a recent comparative study on this question that compares the situation in eight research-intensive countries. The interviewed researchers and research managers appear to agree largely about a number of common factors that shape the development of research practices in all applied fields. These concern three major groups of factors: structural, cultural, and methodological, that is (in the report’s terms), related to new ways of carrying out research.
… depicts 20 competencies that are expected to be indispensable for mature researchers by 2020, in both public- and private-sector research, in all of the countries studied. Together, they constitute for the authors of the study the ideal profile of experienced researchers in the future. Six of these competencies are regarded as newly emerging key competencies. They are:
- A well-developed capacity for analysis, including the mastery of sophisticated IT tools
- The ability to work and cooperate in interdisciplinary environments
- The ability to develop research networks
- Language skills
- Corporate culture and management skills
- Awareness of the pertinence of the research and the ability to assess its impact on the environment
Politicians, business leaders and unions in all countries are unanimous in pointing to research, and the issues of how to fuel it and how to resource it, as make or break challenges. If national and/or international research policies together with skills and competencies management strategies are to succeed, they must first be reconciled. Other issues, key to predicting the outcome of current changes in the needs of the research world, include changes in education systems and increasing professionalization of research work, job appeal, and mobility and career management. In this context, APEC and Deloitte Consulting decided to conduct a joint international survey on the skills and competencies needed in research-related jobs within the next 10 years. For the first time, a forward-looking international study presents the vision and expectations of researchers and research managers with regard to skills and competencies.
This study addresses six key questions: What are the main trends in the changing organisation of research? What skills and competencies are currently sought after in a researcher? Which are specific to a junior researcher and which to an experienced researcher? How will they change over the next 10 years? What is the current degree of proficiency of these skills? What actions and strategies have been introduced or are planned to produce, attract and retain researchers? This study therefore addresses a wide audience: PhD students, researchers and research personnel, recruitment and career management professionals in every type of organisation (laboratory, business, university department, etc.), professors, newly qualified researchers, and executives keen to exercise their talents in the research world.
The way we live and work has changed profoundly – and so has the set of skills we need to participate fully in and benefit from our hyper-connected societies and increasingly knowledge-based economies. The extent to which their citizens are equipping themselves with the skills demanded in the 21st century, low skills proficiency face a much greater risk of economic disadvantage, a higher likelihood of unemployment, and poor health. These social and economic transformations have, in turn, changed the demand for skills as well. With manufacturing and certain low-skill tasks increasingly becoming automated, the need for routine cognitive and craft skills is declining, while the demand for information-processing and other high-level cognitive and interpersonal skills is growing.
The Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) was designed to provide insights into the availability of some of these key skills in society and how they are used at work and at home. It directly measures proficiency in several information-processing skills – namely literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. The main findings of the survey and of the analysis of results are presented below.
Is it time to think differently about what creates new industries and jobs? Should education be recognised as the key to innovation rather than a drain on the public purse? Should we be pumping money into universities as well as banks and propping up schools and colleges as well as currencies? Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s influential thinker on international education, says that western economies have reached a fork in the road. It’s a case of up-skilling or downsizing. “You have two choices. You can go in to the race to the bottom with China, lowering wages for low-skill jobs. Or you can try to win in innovation and competitiveness. “In the long run, if you don’t have natural resources to sell, skills are the only way of competing. “In the past, monetary policy and fiscal policy could be seen as a way to growth, but today, what remains is human capital. You can no longer bail yourself out of a crisis, you can’t stimulate your way out of a crisis, the only way is to provide better skills.” This would also mean making fundamental changes to the school and university systems, argues the OECD’s education expert.
Education at a Glance comes at a time when youth unemployment between 2008 and 2011 climbed steeply in most countries and have remained high ever since. Young people have been particularly hard-hit by un- and underemployment as a result of the global recession. These young people are forced to pay a very high price for a crisis that was not of their making, with long-lasting consequences for their skills, work morale and social integration. The demoralising short-term effects for individuals, families and communities demand urgent policy responses, while the longer term ramifications, in terms of skills loss, scarring effects and de-motivation, are real and affect countries’ potential forsustainable recovery.
The crisis has also produced ample evidence that a good education provides valuable insurance against a lack of work experience: the impact of educational attainment on unemployment is much greater for younger people than it is for older adults. Though many factors play a role in a country’s capacity to contain the rise in youth unemployment in times of crisis, the way institutional arrangements between education and work facilitate transitions into employment is perhaps one of the most important. This year’s Education at a Glance provides more detailed data on programme orientation (general versus vocational) in secondary and tertiary education.
The Youth Innovation Skills Measurement Tool is an instrument to support the development of the skills and attitudes which young people require if they are to become the innovators of tomorrow. The Tool measures five generic skills that underpin innovative behaviour and form a set of attributes clearly linked to the innovation process:
- Creativity (imagination, connecting ideas, tackling and solving problems, curiosity);
- Self-efficacy (self belief, self assurance, self awareness, feelings of empowerment, social confidence);
- Energy (drive, enthusiasm, motivation, hard work, persistence and commitment);
- Risk-propensity (a combination of risk tolerance and the ability to take calculated risks); and
- Leadership (vision and the ability to mobilise commitment).
The skills were identified through a literature review and through testing the concepts with separate focus groups of young people and teachers from different disciplines in schools and colleges.
Young people can best develop the skills for innovation by receiving positive feedback and recognition for early successes and having opportunities to experience successful innovation for themselves. These experiences increase young people’s confidence in their ability to identify problems and find solutions; life skills that are increasingly demanded by employers. Young people’s innovation is usually associated with teenagers, but studies of younger children demonstrate the benefits of teaching design, problem solving or critical skills for developing the capability to innovate.
Nothing in common – The career aspirations of young people mapped against projected labour market demand
This paper asks a simple question: is there any alignment between the career aspirations of young people, aged between 13 and 18, and the best estimates of actual demand within the current and future labour market? The question is relevant to young people, employers and future prosperity. The question is pertinent to young people who make important decisions about their future at ages 14, 16 and 18. Such decisions, about subject options chosen or dropped and experience sought, gained or missed are essential to the ultimate prospects of young people in the jobs market. This paper asks, therefore, whether teenagers, as they make these decisions, do so with career aspirations in mind which reflect realistic opportunities in the world of work.
While this report does not provide a precise comparison of the full breadth of employment opportunities against the understood aspirations of young people, and a regularly repeated study of that character is surely demanded, it does provide the single best insight into teenage aspirations and finds that they have nothing in common with the best estimate of projected labour market demand. Data presented here suggests strongly that the youth labour market is not working efficiently, that employer signalling of opportunities is not being received effectively by young people and that the need to address such information gaps is pressing.
A bachelor’s degree used to provide enough basic training to last a career. Yet today, the skills college graduates acquire during college have an expected shelf life of only five years according to extensive work we’ve done in conjunction with Deloitte’s Shift Index. The key takeaway? The lessons learned in school can become outdated long before student loans are paid off.
Today, individuals must constantly hone and enhance their skills to remain relevant in the workforce. As a society, we must figure out how to rapidly re-skill vast number of people on an ongoing basis to both remain relevant globally and to avoid long periods of high unemployment. Adapting to this cycle of obsolescence is perhaps the biggest challenge.
As chief executives, and now in retirement, they often talk about the inherent importance of the liberal arts to a successful workplace where creativity, problem solving, flexibility, and teamwork are paramount. In survey after survey, employers seem to agree that the skill they most want in future workers is adaptability. Those who hire complain that they often find today’s college graduates lacking in interpersonal skills, problem solving, effective written and oral communication skills, teamwork, and the ability to think critically and analytically. Employers say that future workplaces need those skills as well as degree holders who can come up with novel solutions to problems and better sort through information to filter out the most critical pieces.