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Do You Speak the Language of Business?
U.S. workers report little interest in gaining language proficiencies, despite keen employer need for non-English language speakers.
The employees American hiring managers need for the knowledge-based jobs of the 21st century lack the professional skills to help them compete globally. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) warned of a skills gap in 2010: a point where organizations’ demand for crucial skills and current or prospective employees’ lack of readiness to provide them would impair innovation and growth. For many U.S. industries, that point has been reached, and they risk losing business to overseas competitors.ASTD’s white paper “Bridging the Skills Gap: New Factors Compound the Growing Skills Shortage,” published in February 2010, states that 79 percent of surveyed organizations confirmed they had a skills gap. The report identified two underlying causes: the changing nature of work itself and workers’ educational attainment lagging employers’ skill demands. In the report, ASTD describes how knowledge work — transaction-based labor reliant upon worker judgment and innovation — has become economically vital because of its strong contribution to a business’ bottom line. “Companies with high numbers of knowledge workers are among the fastest growing in the economy,” it states, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predictions of growth for knowledge work requiring specialized skills, as well as a National Center for Education Statistics projection of higher demand for postsecondary degrees of all types. This research reflects rising demand for skilled laborers; by 2015, the percentage of jobs requiring highly skilled workers is projected to rise to 75 percent, versus 50 percent in 1991. Industries requiring science, technology, engineering or math skills will have the highest demand for such skilled workers, and “60 percent of new jobs will require skills held by 20 percent of the population.”Whether through targeted hiring efforts to add needed skill sets, or company-wide learning and development for existing employees, U.S. industries will rely on education to close their skills gaps. Among the skills employers seek most is non-English language proficiency.Overseas Business Requires Language Skills
As international markets become more important to American businesses, and overseas corporations partner more closely with them, foreign language fluency will be a key skill.
Microlearning — Size DOES Matter
June 20th 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
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