Critical Thinking is the #1 Skill

In an article released yesterday, the Society for Human Resources (SHRM) and the Conference Board confirmed that the need for critical thinking has never been greater:

“In fact, a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management and The Conference Board rated critical thinking and problem solving as the number one skill of increasing importance over the next five years.

And, experts say critical thinking has never been more vital.”

The American Management Association’s Ed Reilly seems to support the message being delivered by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the need to teach the 3 R’s as well as the 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity).

“Today’s students are developing the skills that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. Learning leadership and critical thinking skills, along with the traditional skills people learn in school, is a very important tool in terms of building the workforce of tomorrow.”

With the increased need for skilled critical thinkers, it is no surprise many companies are looking for a way to assess critical thinking skills of job applicants.  MDA Consulting, a leadership development firm has been using the Watson-Glaser II Critical Thinking Assessment to evaluate the critical thinking skills of candidates.  MDA’s Scott Nelson said,

“As we are assessing hundreds of candidates every month, we think about using [the Watson Glaser II] as a way to get a keen understanding of an individual’s critical thinking skills. We think the Watson Glaser II is a gold standard. It’s very research based. And it’s very short and easy to use.”

Similarly, Andrea Schilling, Global Director of Human Resources at Varde, uses the Watson-Glaser II to evaluate every employee globally and has attributed their lower turnover rate to understanding a candidate’s critical thinking skills before offering a position.

To learn more about critical thinking, how to assess it, how to train it, and why it’s important, download the free Critical Thinking Means Business White Paper from ThinkWatson.

Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens.  She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training.  She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting.  She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson.  Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.

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