How To Win In The Skills Economy Study

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PayScale and Future Workplace Release 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report

“Leveling Up: How to Win In the Skills Economy” Report Highlights Disconnect Between Recent Graduates and Employers on Current State of Workforce Preparedness

Seattle – May 17, 2016 – PayScale, Inc., the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software, in partnership with Future Workplace, today announced “Leveling Up: How to Win In the Skills Economy,” the 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report.

The report—which includes several animated 8-bit infographics in the style of early video games—details the disconnect between managers and recent graduates regarding their preparedness for employment after entering the workforce, and which skills managers are most likely to consider absent or deficient. It also details which skills are most likely to result in a larger salary, which skills are most likely to result in a promotion, which skills are least valuable (best to leave off your resume), and which skills are most common by geographic region of the United States.

“We hear all the time about the ‘skills gap,’ the gap between the skills needed to succeed in the professional world and the skills with which young professionals leave college,” said Katie Bardaro, VP of Data Analytics, PayScale. “The data we’ve collected show that even though their education may make recent college graduates feel prepared to enter the workforce, only half of hiring managers agree with them; managers feel crucial skills in recent graduates are frequently lacking or absent.”

One unexpected finding was the specific skills that managers feel are most often lacking in new hires right out of college. Rather than specific software programs or other tech skills, the report indicates that 44 percent of managers feel writing proficiency is the hard skill lacking the most among recent college graduates, while public speaking follows with 39 percent of managers feeling this way. Furthermore, 60 percent of managers feel critical thinking/problem solving is the soft skill lacking the most among recent college graduates.

“Graduates need strong communication and problem-solving skills if they want to interview well and succeed in the workplace, because effective writing, speaking and critical thinking enables you to accomplish business goals and get ahead,” said Dan Schawbel, New York Times best-selling author and Research Director at Future Workplace. “No working day will be complete without writing an email or tackling a new challenge, so the sooner you develop these skills, the more employable you will become.”

The “Leveling Up: How to Win In the Skills Economy” Report highlights include:

Recent Grad Preparedness

  • Overall, the majority of workers (87 percent) feel well prepared (immediately or within 3 months) for their job upon graduation from college. In contrast, only about half of managers (50 percent) feel that employees who recently graduated from college are well prepared for the workforce. This reveals a significant gap in perception between managers and workers.

Preparedness by Generation

  • A higher percentage of managers who are Millennials (55 percent) feel that recent college graduates are well-prepared compared to managers from older generations (47 percent Gen X, 48 percent Baby Boomers).

Skills to Make More Money

  • Overall, Scala is the skill that will get you the biggest pay boost (22.2 percent), followed by Cisco UCCE/IPCC (21.1 percent) and Go (20.0 percent). Both Scala and Go are considered to be emerging skills – skills that have become high in demand in the past 5 years. They’re also, notably, STEM skills, an indicator that highly skilled STEM employees are in demand, and STEM jobs consequently command higher salaries.

Best Skills to Get a Promotion

  • The most common skills held by workers at the Executive Level are Business Management (21.8 relative commonness), IT Management (20.3), and Profit & Loss (P&L) Statements (16.8).
  • The most common skills held by workers at the Director Level are Donor Relations (20.2 relative commonness), Software Development, Management (13.9), and Senior Financial Management (12.0).
  • The most common skills held by workers at the Manager or Supervisor Level are Training Management (3.1 relative commonness), Property Management (3.0), and Event Management (2.7).

Best Skills to Leave off Your Resume 

  • The “Best Skill to Leave off Your Resume” are considered “foundational skills,” meaning they are frequently listed as skills by employees within each industry represented. If an employee or job seeker lists these foundational skills among his or her top skills, he or she is likely to earn significantly less than peers with more impressive skills listed on their resume.

For more information on the 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report:

About PayScale

Cloud software, crowdsourced data and unique algorithms power the world’s largest real-time database of rich salary profiles giving PayScale the unique ability to provide employees and employers alike with immediate visibility into the right pay for any position. PayScale’s cloud compensation software is used by more than 4,000 customers including Bloomberg BNA, Cummins, Intercom, Clemson University and Signature HealthCARE.

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About Future Workplace

Future Workplace is an executive development firm dedicated to rethinking and re-imagining the workplace. Future Workplace works with heads of talent management, human resources, corporate learning, and diversity to prepare for the changes impacting recruitment, employee development and engagement. Future Workplace is host to the 2020 Workplace Network, our Executive Council includes 50 plus heads of Corporate Learning, Talent & Human Resources who come together to discuss debate and share “next” practices impacting the workplace and workforce of the future.