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What Skills Do Employers Want? Communication

AMA survey says communication skills will be a top priority

communicationWhen you’re looking for work in a tough job market, it’s essential to focus on your transferable skills. In some circles these are also known as soft skills. They include abilities like managing, negotiating and problem solving. And things like the knack of meeting deadlines and getting along with your co-workers. But, the one skill set sought after in every industry is communication.

Communication skills, verbal and written, will likely be the top priority in employee development, according to the American Management Association’s 2010 Critical Skills Survey. The survey of senior managers and executives, found that in today’s competitive economy, the ability to synthesize ideas and effectively convey them increasingly edges out other talents such as critical thinking, team building and creativity. Assuming, of course, that employees are proficient in entry-level skills including reading, writing and arithmetic.

“Workforce preparedness has become a pressing concern for all U.S. businesses,” said Sandi Edwards, Senior Vice President for AMA’s Corporate Learning Solutions. “Employees must be able to think critically, collaborate with others, work creatively and communicate much more effectively at every level in the organization. The study focuses on how companies perceive these ‘four Cs’ that are so crucial for business success in a knowledge-based world economy.”

One of the key response areas of the survey concerning employee development over the next one to three years was:

Agree / Strongly agree Neutral Disagree / Strongly disagree
Communication skills 79% 13% 7%
Critical thinking 73% 17% 9%
Collaboration/team building 72% 19% 9%
Creativity and innovation 66% 23% 10%

The data regarding communication skills was clear. In order to be an effective communicator an employee needs to be able to think clearly, understand what the key elements are and then be able to express their ideas persuasively. “Communication is recognized as a core component of leadership in today’s global economy, and that’s another reason why it’s so top of mind in today’s organizations,” said Edwards.

In fact, an employee’s communication skills are one of the most important considerations during the hiring process. And, they are among the first competencies assessed during an employee’s annual review. Which means developing strong verbal and written communication skills is the best way to land and keep a job in today’s competitive job market.

About the survey: American Marketing Association (AMA) partnered with P21, a nationally-recognized advocate for 21st-century educational readiness, and surveyed 2,115 managers and other executives in AMA member and customer companies about the importance of the four Cs to their organization today and in the future. For more information visit the AMA website.

About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


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