Preparing for the FutureWhat Can Study in Communication or World Languages Do For You?
In today’s rapidly changing job market, career success requires the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Understanding how communication works within organizations, small groups and between individuals has also been identified as essential. Employers consistently cite communication skills as the major requirement for success in professional careers.
- Communication skills have been correlated with career success and increased financial rewards. (1)
- Qualities and skills employers most desire in "perfect candidates" focus on how well candidates relate to co-workers and clients, as well as communication skills, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. (2)
- Oral communication skills were identified as valuable for both obtaining employment and successful job performance in a national survey of 1000 human resource managers. (3)
- Fortune 500 executives stressed that college students need better communication skills, as well as the ability to work in teams and with people from diverse backgrounds. (4) 104 Silicon Valley employers recommended students receive more training in both oral & written communication skills, in self-expression, promoting a positive self-esteem, as well as in using electronic media (PowerPoint). (5)
- 1000 faculty members from various disciplines identified skills in communicating at the top of the basic competencies for college graduates. (6)
- A U.S. Dept. of Labor database analysis, surveying 8600 managers, representing 52 occupations, concludes people-skills such as leadership and communication need more emphasis. (7) Other Dept. of Labor data regarding future skills indicates that communication skills are essential to the 21st century workplace. (8)
- A 2006 national survey of employers stressed that for students to succeed and contribute to the global economy, more emphasis must be placed on communication skills, global issues, critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills, applied knowledge as science and technology. (9)
- A 2007 national survey identified four essential learning outcomes to prepare for 21st century challenges, (supported by many GCC Communication & World Languages Department courses):
1. Knowledge of Human Cultures & the Physical and Natural World;
2. Intellectual & Practical Skills including: inquiry and analysis, critical / creative thinking, written and oral communication, quantitative literacy, information literacy, teamwork and problem solving;
3. Personal & Social Responsibility, including civic knowledge and engagement—local and global; intercultural knowledge and competence; ethical reasoning and action, foundations and skills for lifelong learning;
4. Integrative Learning, including: synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies. (10)
- The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a national organization promoting student readiness for the 21st century and its new global economy. It argues that students must develop core academic subject knowledge as their base (including World Languages, language arts, English, amongst other core subjects), build high levels of understanding in civic and environmental literacy and global awareness, including information, media and technology literacy AND must also learn such essential skills as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. (11)
(1) Fisher, A. (1999, March 1). “Ask Annie.” Fortune, 244. Cited in Betsy Stevens, “What Communication Skills Do Employers Want? Silicon Valley Recruiters Respond,” Journal of Employment Counseling March 2005. Vol. 42, p. 2 (pp. 2-9).
(2) National Association of Colleges and Employers. (2002). Job Outlook 2002 Bethlehem, PA.
(3) Winsor, J.L., Curtis, D.B., & Stephens, R.D. (1997). National preferences in business and communication education: A survey update. Journal of the Association for Communication Administrators, 3, 170-179.
(4) Graduates are not prepared to work in business. (1997, June). Association Trends, 4.
(5) Betsy Stevens, “What Communication Skills Do Employers Want? Silicon Valley Recruiters Respond,” Journal of Employment Counseling March 2005. Vol. 42, p. 2 (pp. 2-9).
(6) Diamond, R. (1997). Curriculum reform needed if students are to master core skills. The Chronicle of Higher Education, B7, August.
(7) Katherine Mangan, “M.B.A.’s May Need More ‘Soft Skills.’” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 17, 2007 vol 53, Issue 50, p. A10.
(8) Betsy Stevens, “What Communication Skills Do Employers Want? Silicon Valley Recruiters Respond,” Journal of Employment Counseling March 2005. Vol. 42, p. 2 (pp. 2-9). (9) “Trends and Emerging Practices in General Education,” Based on a Survey Among Members of The Association of American Colleges and Universities, Conducted by Hart Research Associates, May 2009. See: www.aacu.org
(10) Executive Summary with findings from Employer Survey, “College Learning for the New Global Economy,” from the National Leadership Council For Liberal Education and America’s Promise, 2007, Association of American Colleges and Universities. See www.aacu.org
(11) See The Partnership for 21st Century Skills and http://www.p21.org/ .
"Presentation skills are worthy of extreme obsessive study."
--Management guru, Tom Peters