Below are resources that provide background information on employability skills, including reports on labor market demands, and employer needs.
Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers' Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U.S. Workforce (PDF, 3.49 MB)
Summarizes the results of an employer survey on entry-level employee readiness. The report outlines the basic and applied skills employers consider most important, as well as skill deficiencies by employees’ levels of education.
Source: The Conference Board, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resource Management, 2006
Assessment Call to Action: Transforming Education: Assessing and Teaching 21st Century Skills (PDF, 302.34 KB)
Presents a rationale for creating assessment systems to measure the skills and knowledge employees need to succeed in the 21st century workplace. The report reviews the current status of existing assessments and identifies technological and methodological challenges to developing them. An action plan is included, designed to help multiple stakeholders collaborate to create more effective assessment systems.
Source: Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft
Boiling point? The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing (PDF, 1.7 MB)
An analysis of results from an annual survey of manufacturers about the skills of their labor force. Sixty- seven percent of respondents reported a moderate-to-severe shortage of available, qualified workers, and 56 percent anticipated the shortage worsening in the next three to five years. More than 50 percent of respondents reported that employees had inadequate problem solving skills, while 43 percent noted deficiencies in basic employability skills, such as attendance and work ethic.
Source: Tom Morrison, Emily Stover DeRocco, Bob Maciejewski, Jennifer McNelly, Craig Giffi, and Gardner Carrick, Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 2011
Career and Technical Education’s Role in Workforce Readiness Credentials, ACTE Issue Brief (PDF, 1.14 MB)
Explores the role played by CTE in the expansion of workforce-readiness credentials, which measure employees’ preparation for the workforce. CTE programs contribute to the growth of workforce- readiness credentials by helping students apply necessary skills, providing opportunities to prepare for assessment, and increasing employer support through industry partnerships. The brief provides examples of workforce-readiness credentials implemented in Florida and Arkansas.
Source: Association for Career and Technical Education, 2008
Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century
Details the findings and recommendations of a committee appointed to identify a set of 21st century skills and review related research. The committee organizes 21st century skills into three broad categories—cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal competencies—and reviews research on their importance to educational and employment outcomes. The report then examines research on deeper learning and the development of 21st century competencies, a process defined as the ability to transfer both knowledge and skills to new situations, and on effective instructional and assessment strategies that support the development of transferable knowledge and skills. It concludes with a discussion of the opportunities for, and challenges of, promoting deeper learning and 21st century competencies within the public education system, particularly as they relate to assessment and teacher professional development.
Source: Board on Testing and Assessment, National Research Council, 2012
Employability Skills: An Update (PDF, 3.13 KB)
Defines employability skills and offers background information on the skills gap and employability skills initiatives, including SCANS, O*NET, and the Conference Board of Canada Employability Skills 2000+.
Source: Christine Overtoom, ERIC Digest No. 220, 2000
Future Work Skills 2020
Analyzes the key influences shaping the workplace landscape, such as technology, and the key skills needed for success by future employees.
Source: Anna Davies, Devin Fidler, and Marina Gorbis, Institute for the Future, 2011
Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018 (PDF, 11.38 MB)
Predicts that 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some postsecondary education by 2018. Employers will need 22 million new workers with postsecondary degrees, but the current forecast indicates that the U.S. will fall short of that number by at least 3 million credentials of an associate’s or higher degree. Jobs in rapidly expanding sectors will require the most education. About 90 percent of jobs in four of the five fastest growing occupational clusters will require postsecondary education.
Source: Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl, Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 2010
How Computerized Work and Globalization Shape Human Skill Demands
Discusses how globalization and technological changes have affected the U.S. labor market. The authors argue that the substitution of computers for employees and globalization largely affect the same occupational areas. The paper analyzes how these two forces might influence the types of jobs available in the future and the skills they will require, including problem solving and complex communication.
Source: Frank Levy and Richard Murnane, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005
The Workplace Realities
Examines labor market shifts and how they have affected skills needed for success in the workforce. The article describes how the shift from the industrial era to the postindustrial knowledge economy requires workers with strong basic academic, communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. Workers need to be adaptable, self-directed, and resilient.
Source: Anthony Carnevale, Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, The School Administrator, 2008
What is "Career Ready"? (PDF, 425 KB)
Introduces and distinguishes among the three major skill areas students need to succeed in the workforce: academic skills, technical skill, and employability skills.
Source: Association for Career and Technical Education, 2010
Workplace Essential Skills: Resources Related to the SCANS Competencies and Foundation Skills (PDF, 1.7 MB)
Provides the results of a comparison between the workplace basic skills defined by the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) and skill frameworks developed by other national and international organizations.
Source: ACT Inc., for the U.S. Department of Labor, 2000