The term “foundational skills” implies that they are something you only use at the beginning of your career. But Burning Glass Technologies research shows that the New Foundational Skills actually gain in value as your career progresses.
The New Foundational Skills, identified in research by Burning Glass and the Business-Higher Education Forum, are 14 skills that have a powerful impact on careers. They’re broken down into three groups:
* Human skills, otherwise called “soft skills,”
* Digital building blocks, such as analyzing and managing data,
* And business enabler skills, such as project management, that allow workers to apply the other skills to their job.
All of these skills carry a salary premium for workers who have them, a premium that grows in combinations. These skills are also more valuable in senior positions than junior ones.
New Foundational Skills are 49% more likely than average to be requested in job postings for senior/manager level jobs. The pattern continues when you look at the three groups of skills: senior job postings are 33% more likely than average to ask for Digital Building Block skills, 44% more likely to ask for Human Skills, and 150% more likely to ask for Business Enablers. These skills are not merely the price of entry to the workforce but are actual career-builders.
To some extent, this reinforces a common view in higher education: that the job of colleges and universities is to train people not for their first job, but for their twentieth. In other words, that the skills provided in college last a lifetime. That’s true, but it’s also true that the New Foundational Skills are crucial in getting that first job.
And business leaders may have to consider how their recruitment and training programs attract people who have, or can develop, these unique mixes of skills. That’s particularly important because these are senior-level skills. If a company wants to groom the next generation of managers, then it has to plan to develop these skills. The New Foundational Skills are most effective in combination—which means educators, workers, and business leaders have to work on making those combinations easier to mix.