The following list of the "basic skills" are important to employers today because they believe both current and future individuals who occupy positions at virtually any level within the workplace will need them to survive.
1. Knowing how to learn throughout life
2. Reading, writing and computation skills
3. Listening and oral/written communication skills
4. Creative thinking and problem solving skills
5. Interpersonal skills
6. Negotiation and team work skills
7. Self-esteem, self-motivation, goal setting and personal career development skills
It is interesting that these skills are considered "basic" and yet over half of the current workforce has had little or no training for this group of skills. Other than reading, writing, computation and oral communications the above skills list represents a switch to skills requiring strong personal attributes and attitudes. These have not been normally associated with traditional vocational, academic curriculum nor the industrial workplace.
These skills can represent a challenge to those who find themselves in a catch-up mode and already in the workforce. Once again, we must be reminded that the rest of the world is using this same list to prepare its current and future workforce. The information age has made this approach to work both necessary and possible. The knowledge age now makes these skills, attitudes and attributes a requirement!
As we have moved swiftly into the 21st century, the workplace landscape and our personal lives are littered with ambiguity, revolutionary change and fantastic opportunities. Chaos, uncertainty and disorder surround us everywhere both on and off the job.
Many businesses and individuals have failed or are on their way to failure because they find themselves unable to quickly and constantly adapt to their new environment. Other businesses and individuals are doing well by taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
In today's global market, and with the proliferation and availability of information worldwide, it is very hard to predict from where your next competitor will come. The good thing is that it works both ways. Your organization, or you as an individual, can plan and shape your future by focusing your energy on developing the ability to thrive on change, and drive change to your own personal benefit.
As an individual you must constantly acquire "solid factual information" and gain "relevant knowledge." Factual information (not rumors or news sound bites) and relevant knowledge (knowledge useful to you and others) translate into power and strength in the workplace. Information and knowledge informs us and creates conditions that effectively support our future success.
Success is not an entitlement. It's not a "right" or a "claim" that we all have. Success is earned; it takes time, effort, hard work and a fair amount of good choices. If being successful were easy, everyone would have the success they think they deserve. What each individual does have is the right to "pursue" success, but that's it.
By continually assessing what information you need for your job, what information you have that will be of value to others, what barriers you need to drop to allow the free flow of information, and by applying all of the above... success can be yours.
A Very Important Point: To beat the competition, (local or global) and stay employed, you must become an engaged, resilient and knowledgeable individual who adds value, drives outcomes, and completes objectives... college degree or no college degree!