Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary

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1 Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 1

2 Life in the 21st-Century Workforce Recent economic conditions have spotlighted the complexities of the contemporary workforce and the need for continuing education as top issues in the public discourse. To remain competitive in the marketplace, businesses must continually search for workers who have increasingly sophisticated and advanced skills. They must also strive to retain their talent through in-house training and the encouragement of continuing education. Likewise, workers must be prepared to continually acquire these requisite skills, both to compete for entry into the workforce and, once hired, to position themselves for promotion when the opportunity arises or a career change when conditions warrant a transition. As part of the Career Innovation 2012 Career Event Series, the Life in the 21st-Century Workforce study provides current perspectives on these complexities from employers and workers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Using survey methodology, the study asked employers and workers about their perceptions and preferences across a range of topics relating to life in the contemporary workforce. Both groups ultimately acknowledge that workers need a complementary set of skills that includes higher and more sophisticated levels of educational attainment and technical expertise, and that they must possess strong personal attributes that include interpersonal communication and teamwork skills. Because marketplaces change so rapidly, employers now require workers to be multifaceted and to upgrade their educational and technical skills continuously in order to be more productive and competitive. of employers and workers think Washing- vs. 2 ton, DC is moving in the right direction. Employers: Generally speaking, do you think Washington, DC is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction in terms of opportunities for business and the workforce? Workers: Generally speaking, do you think Washington, DC is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction in terms of business and job opportunities? Direction of Washington, DC metro: employers Direction of Washington, DC metro: workers Right Wrong Unsure Don't Know Refused 0% 3 Right Wrong Unsure Don't Know Refused 2 In 2011, there were many positive signs that the economy had reversed its decline and that business and job growth prospects were improving. Still, only about 4 out of 10 () employers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area felt it was heading in the right direction, whereas about the same proportion, one in three (3), felt that it was heading in the wrong direction. Another of employers were unsure of the metropolitan area s direction in terms of business and job opportunities. These results indicate the uncertainty and uneven performance of the local economy over the past few years. As the economy indicated it had reversed its decline in 2011, prospects improved for business and job growth. Still, only one out of four (2) workers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area felt it was heading in the right direction, whereas nearly one out of four () felt that it was heading in the wrong direction. Perhaps reflecting a general sense of uncertainty regarding the future, nearly 3 out 10 () workers were unsure of the metropolitan area s direction in terms of business and job opportunities. These results indicate that the recent recovery has been uneven and has not reached all sectors of the local economy. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 2

3 Employers: In what industry is your business? Industry of employer Workers: In what industry is your business? Industry of worker Business/Consulting Services 2 Government 2 Government 2 Education 1 Information Technology, or IT 1 Retail Trade Health Care Health Care Education Information Technology, or IT Hospitality/Travel Consulting/Business Services Banking/Finance/Insurance Hospitality/Travel Manufacturing Banking/Finance/Insurance Retail Trade Real Estate Transportation Manufacturing Arts/Entertainment Arts/Entertainment Real Estate Transportation Wholesale Trade Telecommunications Telecommunications Energy Energy 0% Wholesale Trade Don't know Don't know Employers responding to the survey represented a wide range of industries, which provides an excellent perspective on the Washington, DC economy. Workers responding to the survey represented a wide range of industries, which provides an excellent, broad perspective on workforce conditions in the Washington, DC economy. Employers: What do you feel are the most important challenges facing your business today that is, the ones you, yourself, are the most concerned about? Challenges to business success: employers view, Washington, DC, 2011 Workers: What do you feel are the most important challenges facing your business today that is, the ones you, yourself, are the most concerned about? Challenges to business success: workers view, Washington, DC, 2011 Economy 6 Economy 5 Finding Qualified Workers Cost of Living/Low Wages 4 Cost of Doing Business/Cost of Labor Career Opportunities/Job Security 3 Business Is Slow/No New Business Health Insurance/Health benefits 2 Customer Service/Customer Relations 2 Business Is Slow/No New Business 1 Providing Health Insurance/Benefits Increasing Worker/Employee Productivity/Training/Retention High Business Taxes Access to Education Transportation/Condition of Roads Increased and/or Foreign Competition Other Finding Qualified Workers High Business Taxes Customer Service/ Customer Relations Increased and/ or Foreign Competition Access to Education Access to Capital/Getting Business Loans Other None None/Nothing Don t Know/Refused Don't Know/Refused Employers face many challenges to running a successful business enterprise. In the Washington, DC metropolitan area in 2011, employers were still feeling the effects of the recent recession. Over two out of three (6) cited the economy as the most important challenge, whereas just over one in four () cited finding qualified workers. Over one in four () Washington, DC employers cited the cost of doing business/cost of labor and business is slow/no new business as the most important challenges to running a successful business. Businesses face many challenges to growing and running a successful commercial enterprise. In the Washington, DC metropolitan area in 2011, many workers were still experiencing less than ideal business conditions as over half (5) cited the economy as the most important challenge, whereas over four out of ten (4) cited the cost of living or low wages. About a third of Washington, DC workers cited career opportunities or job security (3), whereas another 2 cited health insurance or health benefits as the most important challenge to business success. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 3

4 Employers: Which ONE of the following do you believe is most important when making decisions about hiring a job candidate? Most important factor in hiring decision Workers: Which ONE of the following do you believe is the most important when employers are making decisions about hiring a job candidate? Most important factor for a job candidate to be hired Communication skills 2 All are important 6 Past work experience Proven results in industry People management Basic business technical skills (software, technology) Internship or experience industry Formal education and the degree they have All are important Past work experience Communication skills Formal education and the degree or certification they have Proven results in industry People management Don't know/refused The choice among job candidates often takes into account many individual factors and personal characteristics. When faced with the decision of hiring a job candidate, Washington, DC employers most often cited communication skills (2) and past work experience (), followed by proven results in industry (). Over one in four () responded that all are important. These choices suggest that past experience and personal attributes are more important than hard skills in the hiring decision. More likely, hard skills are used to screen job candidates and are often not the final determinants. Washington, DC workers were asked what factors they believed to be the most important when employers were making decisions about hiring a job candidate. Over 6 out of 10 (6) Washington, DC workers felt that all are important. Another thought that past work experience was most important, followed by communication skills at. Only of Washington, DC workers thought that formal education and the degree or certification they have was the most important factor. Employers: Below is a list of skills that you may look for in a worker or a potential worker. For each, please indicate if it is very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all. Skills that employers seek in potential new hires Critical thinking and problem-solving Collaboration/teamwork skills Ability to work independently Interpersonal communication Ability to meet deadlines The ability and willingness to learn new skills The ability to analyze and synthesize information Customer service skills Ability to multitask Ability to apply past work experience Basic business technical skills Specific professional certification The ability to develop a strategic plan and implement it Ability to work in a multicultural environment Project management skills Public speaking skills Specific technical certification Software skills Social media and online communication skills Ability to speak a foreign language % 50% % Very important Somewhat important Not too important The 21st-century workplace is most often a complex environment that requires workers to use a wide range of skills when interacting with colleagues and customers. The skills cited most often as very important by Washington, DC employers included critical thinking and problem solving (6), collaboration/teamwork skills (6), the ability to work independently (6), interpersonal communication (6), the ability to meet deadlines (5), and the ability and willingness to learn new skills (5). These responses reflect the need for workers to possess the interpersonal skills and personal attributes to be effective in today s workplace. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 4

5 Workers: Listed below are skills that may or may not be important to have when companies are hiring new workers. Please indicate whether you believe that each skill is very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all when companies are hiring new workers. Skills that workers believe employers seek in new hires The ability and willingness to learn new skills Ability to meet deadlines Collaboration/teamwork skills Critical thinking and problem-solving Ability to work independently Previous experience and results Interpersonal communication Customer service skills Ability to multitask The ability to analyze and synthesize information Technical skills Being innovative Ability to grow and expand a business Leadership sklils The ability to develop a strategic plan and implement it Ability to work in a multicultural environment Ability to create something new Software skills and business processes Project management Public speaking skills Social media and online communication skills Network in industry (who I know) Ability to speak a foreign language % Very important Somewhat important Not too important Washington, DC workers were asked to consider the importance of certain skills for new hires. The skills cited most often as very important were the ability and willingness to learn new skills (7), ability to meet deadlines (6), collaboration/teamwork (6), critical thinking and problemsolving (6), and the ability to work independently (60%). In general, all the skills were rated relatively important given that at least 4 out of 10 Washington, DC workers cited the lowest rated skills network in industry (who I know) (5) and the ability to speak a foreign language () as very important or somewhat important % seek 7 potential of employers consider critical thinking and problem-solving to be the most important work skill they in potential hires. of workers consider the ability and willingness to learn new skills to be the skill that most employers seek in hires. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 5

6 Employers: Which TOP THREE skills listed below do you think are the most important when companies are hiring new workers? Skills employers believe are most important for new hires Workers: Which TOP THREE skills listed below do you think are the most important when companies are hiring new workers? Skills workers believe are most important for new hires Critical thinking and problem-solving Collaboration/teamwork skills Interpersonal communication Ability to multitask The ability and willingness to learn new skills The ability to analyze and synthesize information Customer service skills Ability to work independently Ability to meet deadlines Ability to apply past work experience Software skills Project management skills Specific technical certification Ability to work in a multicultural environment Specific professional certification The ability to develop a strategic plan and implement it Social media and online communication skills Public speaking skills Basic business technical skills Ability to speak a foreign language All are important Don't know/refused Today s worker must often be able to perform independently while working effectively on a team of colleagues and/or serving a large number of customers. To be successful in the 21st-century workplace, workers need to demonstrate a growing set of interpersonal skills and personal attributes beyond a foundation of hard skills. When considering hiring new workers, Washington, DC employers most often cited critical thinking and problem-solving (), collaboration/ teamwork skills (3), interpersonal communication (), the ability to multitask (2), and the ability and willingness to learn new skills (2), as the most important for new hires. new 3 companies The ability and willingness to learn new skills Critical thinking and problem-solving Collaboration/teamwork skills Previous experience and results Ability to work independently Ability to multitask Customer service skills Technical skills Interpersonal communication Ability to meet deadlines Leadership skills The ability to analyze and synthesize information Ability to grow and expand a business Software skills and business processes Being innovative Project management Ability to work in a multicultural environment The ability to develop a strategic plan and implement it Social media and online communication skills Network in industry (who I know) Ability to speak a foreign language Public speaking skills Ability to create something new All of the above Don't know/refused 1 1 Washington, DC workers were asked to pick the top three skills they felt were the most important to have when companies were considering hiring new workers. The top three skills considered to be the most important were the ability and willingness to learn new skills (3), critical thinking and problem-solving (), collaboration/teamwork skills (2), and previous experience and results (2). Following close behind were the ability to work independently (1) and to multitask (1). About one in seven (1) Washington, DC workers felt that all the skills were important of employers cited critical thinking and problem-solving as the top skill companies seek when hiring workers. of workers said the ability and willingness to learn new skills is the most important skill to hiring new workers Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 6

7 Employers: Please indicate if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement. A college education is necessary in order to succeed in the workplace today. College education and workplace success Workers: Please indicate if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement. A college education is necessary in order to succeed in the workplace today. College education and workplace success Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don t know/refused Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree 1 4 The importance of a college education to workplace success is reflected in Washington, DC employers responses. Nearly one out of three (3) strongly agree that a college degree is necessary for success in the workplace today. Another of business leaders somewhat agree, whereas only somewhat disagree (1) or strongly disagree (1). Washington, DC workers were asked to consider to what extent they agree with a statement regarding the importance of a college education to success in today s workplace. Three out of 10 workers () strongly agree, whereas another 4 somewhat agree. Only of Washington, DC workers expressed some level of disagreement; 1 somewhat disagree and strongly disagree. Employers: How important do you feel continuing education is for worker success in your organization? Importance of continuing education to success in organization Very important Somewhat important Somewhat unimportant Very unimportant Don't know/refused 1 3 Rapid change in the business environment means that workers must constantly acquire new and better skills. Nearly 4 out of 10 (3) of Washington, DC employers believe that continuing education is very important to worker success in their organization. Another believe it is somewhat important, whereas less than 2 out of 10 (1) thought it is somewhat unimportant (1) or very unimportant (). Workers: How important do you feel continuing education is for your success in your organization? Importance of continuing education to success in organization Very important Somewhat important Somewhat unimportant Very unimportant 1 4 Washington, DC workers were also asked to consider the importance of continuing education to success in their organization. Over one in three () felt that continuing education was very important, whereas another 4 thought it was somewhat important. Only felt it was somewhat unimportant (1) or very unimportant (). 3 vs. of employers and workers feel continuing education is very important to success in their organization. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 7

8 Employers: To what extent does your company support workers in continuing education? Company support for continuing education Workers: To what extent does your company support workers in continuing education? Company support for continuing education Company pays a portion of job-related continuing education tuition 4 Company has no formal policy on continuing education tuition Company encourages continuing education but does not pay any tuition 1 Company pays a portion of job-related continuing education tuition Company has no education policy or program Company encourages continuing education but does not pay any tuition Company pays for all of job-related continuing education tuition 1 Company pays for all of job-related continuing education tuition 1 Company has no formal policy on continuing education tuition 1 My company has its own corporate university Don't know/refused Don't know/refused Continuing education is an important vehicle for current workers to upgrade their skills and increase their workplace productivity. It is also an important means by which companies can maintain and increase the collective skill set of their workforce. Still, only 1 of Washington, DC employers have companies that fully support continuing education for their workers. One in 10 () has no education policy or program, and another 1 have no formal policy on continuing education tuition. Over 4 of 10 (4) companies pay a portion of job-related continuing education. Washington, DC workers were asked to what extent their company supported continuing education. According to these workers, of companies have no formal continuing education policy, whereas pay a portion of job-related continuing education tuition. Another of companies in the Washington, DC metropolitan area encourage continuing education, but do not pay any tuition. Only 1 of Washington, DC workers said their company pays all of job-related continuing education costs. Employers: What do you think are the most important factors for your workers to consider when choosing a postsecondary degree program? For each, please indicate whether it is very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all. Factors affecting choice of postsecondary degree program Practical learning experiences of real-life problems Emphasize people management and communication skills Flexible schedules on evenings, weekends or online Very important Somewhat important Not too important Discussion-style, interactive teaching 5 5 Offer professional certifications 2 4 Academic reputation 2 50% 1 Theoretical learning experiences 4 2 Faculty are leaders in their field 3 Cost of tuition 4 Programs that integrate leading-edge technology 5 Offer technical certifications 4 A small class size 4 2 Team-based learning Large network of alumni 1 3 Lecture-style teaching Many factors that reflect the realities of today s workplace and contemporary life influence the choice of a postsecondary degree program. The factors most cited by Washington, DC employers as very important were practical learning experiences of real-life problems (4); emphasizing people management and communication skills (3); flexible schedules during evenings, weekends, or online (3); discussion-style, interactive teaching (); and subject matter expertise (). However, almost all factors were cited by at least half of all Washington, DC employers as being very important or somewhat important. Only a large network of alumni and lecture-style teaching were considered not too important or not important at all by over half of all Washington, DC employers. 3 Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 8

9 Workers: What do you think are the most important attributes for you to consider when choosing a post-secondary degree program? For each of the attributes listed below, please indicate whether they are very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all. Factors affecting choice of postsecondary degree program Flexible schedules on evenings, weekends or online Cost of tuition 4 60% 5 2 Very important Somewhat important Not too important Practical learning experiences that emphasize real-life problems 4 4 Academic reputation 4 1 Programs that integrate leading-edge technology 3 4 Faculty are leaders in their field Offer professional certifications Emphasize people management and communication skills 4 1 A small class size 4 Offer technical certifications 4 Discussion-style teaching 4 Team-based learning Theoretical learning experiences 2 50% Lecture-style teaching 4 3 Large network of alumni 1 Washington, DC workers were asked to consider a range of attributes of postsecondary degree programs and to rate the importance of each when considering the choice of a program. Those rated the highest included flexible schedules during the evenings, weekends, or online (60%), cost of tuition (5), subject matter expertise (4), and practical learning experiences that emphasize real-life problems (4). In general, Washington, DC workers make their choice of a program based upon practical attributes such as course availability and schedule, cost, and subject matter and less upon the general reputation of the institution, teaching style, and class format. 41 % a 60% a of employers cite practical learning experiences of real-life problems as the most important aspect for workers to consider when choosing postsecondary degree program. of workers consider flexible schedules in the evenings, weekends, or online to be the most important attribute to consider when choosing postsecondary degree program. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 9

10 Employers: Which TOP THREE factors do you think are most important when your workers are considering a postsecondary degree program? Top 3 attributes of postsecondary degree program Workers: Which attributes listed below do you think are the TOP THREE most important when considering a postsecondary degree program? Top 3 attributes of postsecondary degree program Practical learning experiences that emphasize real-life problems Emphasize people management and communication skills Flexible schedules on evenings weekends or online Cost of tuition Programs that integrate leading-edge technology Offer professional certifications Cost of tuition Flexible schedules on evenings weekends or online Practical learning experiences of real-life problems Academic reputation Offer professional certifications Emphasize people management and communication skills A small class size % Theoretical learning experiences Faculty are leaders in their field Academic reputation A small class size Team-based learning Discussion-style teaching Offer technical certifications Faculty are leaders in their field Lecture-style teaching 1 Programs that integrate leading-edge technology Offer technical certifications Discussion-style teaching Team-based learning Theoretical learning experiences Lecture-style teaching Large network of alumni All are important Large network of alumni Don't know/refused The choice of a postsecondary degree program is a significant life decision that can impact many aspects of a worker s personal and professional life. With that in mind, Washington, DC employers most often cited practical learning experiences of real-life problems (4), programs that emphasize people management and communication skills (3), flexible schedules during evenings, weekends, or online (), cost of tuition (3), and subject matter expertise () as the most important factors when considering a postsecondary program. This prioritization of factors reflects many of the realities of the workplace and its role within contemporary life. Similarly, Washington, DC workers were asked to rate the top three attributes they consider when they are choosing a postsecondary degree program. The attributes cited most often include cost of tuition (5), flexible schedules with classes on evenings, weekends, or online (50%), practical learning experiences of real-life problems (2), and subject matter expertise (2). Another one in five () Washington, DC workers said that all were important. 4 of 5 degree of employers think practical learning experiences of real-life problems is the most important factor in workers choice a postsecondary degree program. of workers think cost of tuition is the most important aspect when considering a postsecondary program. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 10

11 Employers: In addition to performance, which ONE of the following is the most important when considering an individual for a promotion? Factors impacting promotion decision Communication skills People management Past work experience Professional certification Basic business technical skills Technical certification Formal education and the degree they have Other Don't know/refused Promotions within an organization are essential to individual and organizational success. When considering an individual for promotion, Washington, DC employers cited communication skills (), people management (2), and past work experience () as the most important factors. These responses suggest that promotion is often determined by past work experience and interpersonal skills and less on hard skills acquired through the completion of postsecondary degree and certification programs. This may reflect the relatively high level of educational attainment in the workforce, which is often considered a minimum requisite for many occupations. 2 Workers: In addition to performance, which ONE of the following do you believe is the most important when employers are thinking about promoting their workers? Factors impacting promotion decision Past work experience Communication skills 2 People management 1 Formal education and the degree they have Work-related certification Other Don't know/refused 1 3 Washington, DC workers were asked to assess a list of factors they believed were most important when employers are considering promoting a worker. Over one out of three (3) workers believed that past work experience was considered most often, followed by communication skills (2) and people management (1). These results indicate that workers perceive promotions to be more dependent on personal soft skills than the credentials that degrees and certifications offer. Questions asked only to employers: Employers: In your opinion, what industries do you think will provide the most job/employment opportunities in the next five years? Industries with most employment opportunities Health Care 5 Information Technology, or IT 5 Energy Telecommunications 2 Government 2 Education 1 Business/Consulting Services 1 Retail Trade 1 Banking/Finance/Insurance Manufacturing 1 Transportation 1 Real Estate Wholesale Trade Other Don't know 1 of employers consider communication skills to be most important to their decision to promote workers. 3 of workers feel past work experience is the most important factor in employers decision to promote them. Growth in an industry s employment reflects strong demand for its goods or services. Employers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area cited the health care (5), information technology (5), and energy () industries as those that will provide the most employment opportunities in the next five years. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 11

12 Employers: What college majors do you look for when hiring new workers? College majors sought by managers Information Technology, IT Business/Management Engineering Science Professional Certification Mathematics Accounting Technical Certification Finance Marketing Communications Liberal Arts Education Arts/Entertainment English Human Resource Management Foreign Language Public Administration Healthcare Administration Nursing History/Social Science Other Don't know A diverse economy requires a wide range of skills and educational attainment relevant across many industries. In the Washington, DC metropolitan area, employers most often look for college majors in information technology/it (3), business/management (3), engineering (), science (2), professional certification (), and mathematics (). Employers: In terms of your company s talent needs, what TOP THREE characteristics would you like higher education institutions to help their students develop to ensure graduates are prepared for the workforce? Characteristics developed by educational institutions Have good work ethic/be hardworking Communication skills/speak clearly Do an internship/have real-world experience Eagerness/Desire to learn Be practical/have common sense Diverse background/wide range of skills Have etiquette/manners Understand how business runs/ Understand industry Lower expectations/keep options open Job readiness programs/interview practice/resume preparation Other None/Nothing/No high expectations Don't know 1 1 Workers in the 21st-century workplace are often required to have a complementary set of hard and soft skills. Educational institutions can play a significant role in assisting students and workers in acquiring both sets of skills. Almost two out of three (6) Washington, DC employers cited having a good work ethic and being hardworking as the most important characteristic for those entering the workforce. Other important characteristics included communication skills/speaking clearly (), doing an internship/having real-world experience (), eagerness/desire to learn (3), and being practical/having common sense (3) Employers: Please indicate the type of certification you look for when hiring new workers. Certifications sought by managers Information Technology/IT Project Management Education/Teaching Public Administration Health Administration Nursing Human Resource Management Engineering Construction Management Graphic Design/Art-Related Architecture/Planning Don't know Certifications reflect the acquisition of occupation-specific skills. Washington, DC employers most often look for certifications in information technology/it (6), project management (5), education/teaching (3), and public administration (). Employers: Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement. All things being equal, I am more likely to promote an individual who has a college education than an individual who does not. College education and promotion Strongly agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree Don't know/refused 2 1 Having a college degree can enhance the chance of promotion within an organization. A little over 2 out of 10 (2) of Washington, DC employers strongly agree that they are more likely to promote an individual who has a college education than one who doesn t. A little over one out of three () somewhat agrees. Nearly 4 in 10 () Washington, DC employers somewhat disagree () or strongly disagree (1). Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 12

13 Questions asked only to workers: Workers: Which of the following, if any, are you likely to do in the next two years? Skill upgrade and career change Workers: Which of the following are reasons someone may have for going back to school? Reasons to go to back to school Look for a new job Take a class to enhance your professional skills Change your career Start your own business Go to school to earn an advanced degree Go to school to earn a bachelor's degree Workers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area were asked about their plans to change careers or to upgrade their skills. Almost half (4) plan to look for a new job in the next two years, whereas another 4 said they planned to take a class to enhance their professional skills. In addition, only 1 of Washington, DC workers plan to start their own business and plan to change careers. Only about 2 in 10 (1) of Washington, DC workers plan to go to school to earn an advanced () or a bachelor s degree () To increase your salary/hourly rate Need degree to advance career Need training for a specific job Want to change careers Unemployed Washington, DC workers were asked to choose reasons someone may have for going back to school. Almost 6 out of 10 (5) cited increasing one s salary or hourly rate, whereas another 5 said a degree is needed to advance one s career. About half of Washington, DC workers cited needing training for a specific job (5) and wanting to change careers (4) as reasons to go back to school, whereas another 3 cited being unemployed as a reason. Workers: Below is a list of skills that some people may or may not have. Thinking about your workplace, please indicate if almost all of your colleagues, most of your colleagues, only some of your colleagues or almost none of your colleagues have this skill. Skills of workplace colleagues Ability to work independently Ability to work in a multicultural environment Ability to meet deadlines Ability to multitask Collaboration/teamwork skills Customer service skills Interpersonal communication The ability and willingness to learn new skills Critical thinking and problem-solving The ability to analyze and synthesize information Professional certification Technical skills The ability to develop a strategic plan and implement it Public speaking skills All of the above Social media and online communication skills Software skills and business processes Project management Ability to speak a foreign language % Almost all Most Only some Washington, DC workers were asked to consider a list of skills that people may or not have and how many of their colleagues at work have these skills. Workers believed that almost all of their work colleagues possessed the ability to work independently (3), work in a multicultural environment (), meet deadlines (), or multitask (); or possessed subject matter expertise (), collaboration/teamwork skills (), or customer service skills (2). In general, the results suggest that the contemporary workplace requires a wide range of personal attributes and interpersonal communication skills. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 13

14 Workers: Listed below are a number of factors that may or not be a barrier to being promoted. Thinking about your workplace, please indicate whether each factor is very significant, somewhat significant, not too significant or not significant at all as a barrier to promotion. Barriers to promotion Lack of interpersonal skills Not enough subject area expertise Lack of training Very significant Somewhat significant Not too significant Lack of technical skills Personality 4 1 No management skills 3 Insufficient educational background 4 2 Internal politics 2 Lack of professional certification 2 4 Lack of technical certification 2 2 Limited networking skills 4 3 Washington, DC workers were asked to consider a list of factors that may or may not be considered barriers to promotion in their workplace. The factors listed most often as very significant were lack of interpersonal skills (4), not enough subject area expertise (4), and lack of training (4). In general, these results reflect a mix of factors that emphasize soft and interpersonal skills more often than the hard skills associated with training, education, and certifications. What It All Means for Employers The complex realities of the contemporary workplace are reflected in the responses to this survey of employers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. These results indicate the need for individuals to possess a complementary set of hard and soft skills that can be used in a rapidly changing work environment. Constant and swift change in the nature of work and the workplace has placed a premium on interpersonal and communication skills. For the individual worker in an organization, career advancement will most often come with experience, a college education (or its equivalent), and the ability to work effectively and productively with teams. For prospective job candidates with equal educational attainment, the chances of being hired can hinge on demonstrating strong personal attributes associated with a strong work ethic and organizational skills. These results also point to an increasing need for continuing education. Although the survey results indicate the need for individual attributes that demonstrate a strong work ethic and decision-making, interpersonal, and communication skills, a large proportion of work now requires higher and complex levels of hard skills. These are most often acquired through postsecondary degree and certification programs. Both employers and workers increasingly recognize that these hard skills need to be continually revised and upgraded to remain competitive in the marketplace and the workforce. To meet this demand for rapidly changing skill requirements, educational institutions must provide degree and certification programs that are relevant to an ever-increasing number of newly created occupations and adaptable to the demands of life in the 21st century. What It All Means for Workers The results of the Worker Survey in the Washington, DC metropolitan area reveal the increasingly complex nature of the 21st-century workplace. For most workers to be successful today, they must possess a skill set that includes a foundation of hard skills acquired through formal educational processes, and personal attributes that emphasize the ability to work independently while exercising strong communication and interpersonal skills with colleagues and customers. Washington, DC workers consistently perceive workplace success as measured by promotions to be more dependent upon a person s communication and interpersonal skills than upon educational credentials. At the same time, Washington, DC workers also perceive educational credentials to be an essential starting point for workforce entry, promotion, and success. Washington, DC workers also recognize the necessity of continuing education. Because change in the marketplace is so rapid, workers increasingly recognize the need to upgrade their skills and credentials. By doing so, they believe that they can improve their compensation, be considered for promotion, or change careers. Doing so, however, requires them to make significant changes in their home and professional lives, so the choice of a postsecondary degree program must balance a number of factors. Educational institutions must provide degree and certification programs that are relevant to an everincreasing number of newly created occupations and skill demands. They must also provide these programs in formats and settings that allow workers to adapt to the demands of contemporary home and professional life in the 21st century. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 14

15 Career Innovation 2012 Discover. Develop. Launch. In partnership with CareerBuilder, University of Phoenix is proud to launch Career Innovation 2012, a 13-city career event series featuring local hiring companies, career readiness workshops, one-on-one resume support and an interactive assessment tool designed to create personalized career roadmap reports. The series has been designed to give job seekers the tools they need to engage in a successful job search. The centerpiece of the event experience is an interactive pavilion featuring our brand new Personalized Career Roadmap, an assessment tool designed to create custom reports for job seekers. This ground breaking report will match skills to growth jobs and industries, offer insight on fitting into the current employment landscape, outline the skills required to be successful in a particular industry, and detail in-depth information on salary, career trajectory, education requirements and relevant real time information to enable job seekers to understand their current career outlook. To learn more about the Career Innovation 2012 event series or to register to attend, please log on to About the Research This report is part of a multi-city research study conducted by Apollo Research Institute. The findings represent the opinions and perceptions of a cross-section of workers and employers in diverse industries. Their views provide an insightful snapshot of the role of education and skills in career development and workforce advancement. For this study, Apollo Research Institute conducted an online survey of a random sample of 500 workers and 100 employers in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in March Workers are defined as residents between 18 and 68 years of age who are working full- or part-time, self-employed, or seeking employment. Employers are defined as individuals with hiring or management responsibility across a range of organization sizes and industries. The margin of error for the sample of 100 employers was ±9.8 percentage points at a 9 confidence interval. The sampling error for the 500 workers was ±4.4 percentage points at a 9 confidence interval. Results of some survey questions may not equal 100% due to rounding. About Apollo Research Institute SM Apollo Research Institute is a nonpartisan research division of Apollo Group, the parent company of seven leading providers of educational services worldwide, including University of Phoenix. Apollo Research Institute studies issues of critical importance to educators, employers, and policymakers. Collaborating with academic and corporate research partners, we apply our research expertise across diverse industries. Through rigorous data collection, analysis, and evaluation, we develop research-based recommendations to help leaders promote an educated workforce for today and tomorrow. Research Focus Areas Apollo Research Institute has three areas of research interest: the value, importance, and future of education. Value of Education Apollo Research Institute examines the value of higher education for individuals, corporations, business sectors, and local economies. For example, we measure ways that higher education pays off for individuals in industries like healthcare, business, IT, and engineering. We also work with corporate partners to find the ROI of higher education and its impact on workforce advancement. Importance of Education To help leaders understand the link between education and workforce advancement, we investigate what education and skills will be vital for employment now and in the future. For example, we look for disparities in national supply and demand for skills to understand where the gaps are and why. We also study regional workforce skills as they vary by geographic area. Finally, we look at long-term skills requirements to help employees and employers anticipate what competencies will be needed for future jobs and careers. Future of Education Apollo Research Institute helps educators, employees, and employers anticipate the future of education and its relevance to the workforce. The rapid acceleration of technology and globalization will impact organizations and workers alike. Through collaboration with the nonprofit Institute for the Future, we explore workforce forecasts using a variety of tools and techniques such as expert think tanks, scenario planning, and environmental scanning. The goal of this research is to help educators, employees, and employers adapt to societal shifts and build a strong foundation of human capital for a sustainable future Apollo Research Institute. All rights reserved. Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 15

16 Career Innovation 2012 Miami Dallas Kansas City Philadelphia Washington, DC Pittsburgh Phoenix San Diego Nashville Houston Minneapolis Denver Atlanta phoenix.edu Life in the 21st-Century Workforce: Washington, DC 2012 Executive Summary 16

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