What are the essential job skills of today and how prepared is Idaho’s current workforce to tackle the skill requirements of future work?
An increased emphasis on making sure employees have the skills they need today is shifting the conversation toward identifying the most relevant skills necessary for the jobs of tomorrow.
This analysis draws on information from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database, a useful tool in identifying work competencies in the labor market. O*NET uses surveys of employees and occupational experts to determine the important characteristics and requirements of more than 900 occupations. Its content model identifies, among other things, the different mix of knowledge, skills and abilities required by each occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables. This article focuses on just the skill requirements.
What are the essential job skills required in the marketplace?
Skills are broadly defined as strategies and procedures for acquiring and working with the knowledge that comes with experience and practice (Tippins & Hilton, 2010). The O*NET skills taxonomy identifies 35 skills considered necessary for a wide range of jobs and tasks. These skills are divided into basic and cross-functional skills. Basic skills describe the capacities an individual has that assist in the learning process and acquisition of knowledge. Skills such as reading comprehension, writing, active learning and critical thinking are included in this grouping. Cross-functional skills refer to competencies such as social skills, complex problem solving, technical skills, systems skills and resource management skills.