Jobs That Pay Well Require More Than Degrees: Communication, Teamwork, Sales/Customer Service, Leadership, and Problem Solving/Complex Thinking Are the 5 Most In-Demand Competencies, Georgetown University Report Says
Communication skills are most valued competency across occupations, boosting earnings as much as 20%
(Washington, DC, November 19, 2020) Workers need more than just their education credentials to qualify for jobs that pay well, keep those jobs, secure promotions, and boost their earnings on the job. A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) finds that a set of general cognitive competencies yields the highest economic rewards, while physical competencies are less valuable in the labor market. Workplace Basics: The Competencies Employers Want shows that communication, teamwork, sales and customer service, leadership, and problem solving and complex thinking are the five most in-demand competencies across the labor market, while strength and coordination are the least in demand.
The CEW report explores how 120 knowledge areas, skills, and abilities are demanded across the workforce and within specific occupations—and how the intensity with which workers use these competencies, along with their education level, can affect their earnings. The findings are based on the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database, which includes information on competencies for more than 1,000 occupations.
The jobs in which cognitive competencies are used most intensively tend to be held by workers with higher levels of education. In fact, 77% of the workers who use communication most intensively have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 10% of workers who use strength and coordination abilities most intensively. While formal education is not the only way for workers to acquire competencies demanded across the labor market, postsecondary degrees may be a way for workers to provide information about their likely cognitive competencies to potential employers.