“The debate over the future of work confirms the many challenges we face in preparing young people for an increasingly complex digital world. It is imperative we expand career pathway opportunities centered around job-ready training, industry-recognized credentials, and a continuous learning mindset focusing equally on technical and durable skills.” – Todd Thibodeaux, President and CEO, CompTIA
In an era when technical skills are evolving at an unprecedented pace, there is an important set of durable ‘soft skills’ that last a lifetime. Durable Skills include a combination of how you use what you know – skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity – as well as character skills like fortitude, growth mindset, and leadership.
Analysis of 80 million job postings from 2020-2021 reveals that 7 of the 10 most-requested skills are Durable Skills. And, the top 5 Durable Skills were requested in job postings 4.7 times more often than the top 5 hard skills. In short, Durable Skills are in demand for jobs across the workforce, regardless of educational attainment level, industry sector, or geography.
America Succeeds believes better integrating Durable Skills into education pathways will help ensure a broader group of learners ultimately find success in their careers and communities.
Durable Skills Initiative Support
Durable Skills Research (2020 – 2021)
Employers, parents, educators, and state leaders are aligned in their desire to provide students a solid foundation for the future. Business leaders across industries are aligned around the skills demanded in every career. It is our belief that by working together, we can ensure that students and communities become more resilient in the rapidly evolving world of work.
Business Perspectives on Durable Skills
“The men and women who manufacture in the United States are called upon to produce an amazing variety of products, especially as we continue to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. From the supplies that make our lives easier and safer to the medicines, vaccines, and treatments that make our lives healthier, manufacturing employees create the world of today and tomorrow. It is the durable skills of these employees, the creativity and teamwork, that makes innovation possible and brings these new and vital products to life.” – Carolyn Lee, Executive Director, The Manufacturing Institute
“Contractors are at the heart of infrastructure in every community across America. The technical skills of today’s craft professionals are second to none, but it’s absolutely essential that they have the durable skills to be able to contribute and succeed in this dynamic workforce.” – Greg Sizemore, Vice President of HSE and Workforce Development, Associated Builders and Contractors
“Equity, and the lack thereof, is important to the creation and upkeep of our local, state, and federal economies. As business leaders, we must push for specific resources and Durable Skills such as communication, collaboration, and leadership to support disadvantaged students and bring them up to the same opportunity level as their educational peers.” – Alex Hammerstein, Senior Vice President, CBRE
“Whether you’re a product manager, a project manager, or a software engineer, there are a set of Durable Skills that you should have within your competencies to be effective in any one of these jobs. So, as we think about how this carries you through to your career, you establish this wonderful baseline for who you are and how you demonstrate Durable Skills. Then you focus on the technical skills necessary for the various jobs that you’ll pursue as you move into your career.” – Jamie Candee, CEO, Edmentum
“Organizations remain dependent on an economy where HR professionals and talent acquisition specialists are the principal consumers of skills data. Leveraging transparency in skills data, especially for durable skills, is the key lever in making organizational development and competitive advantage a reality. Durable skills data at their fingertips will make HR professionals more effective and their organizations even more successful.” – Alexander Alonso, PhD, SHRM-SCP, Chief Knowledge Officer, SHRM
“We’re focused on creating a ladder of opportunity so people can build a career at Walmart, regardless of where they start. We believe our investments to improve career paths for our associates, including robust training and education offerings with technical and durable skills, have strengthened our workforce and contributed positively to our stores and communities.” – Sean Thurman, Director-Global Public Policy, Walmart
“When we think about Durable Skills, we think about skills that have this elasticity that will empower students to not only create opportunities for their career but help them move up the ladder, and help them become part of the C-suite as well. So we think this is such an important vehicle for change, ensuring that students have the right skills in order to enter the workforce and be truly prepared.” – Ahva Sadeghi, Co-Founder & CEO, Symba
“Companies will continue to compete on innovation and talent like never before which makes the use, sharing, and transparency of skills data across stakeholder groups even more important to the world of work. Collective action around durable skills is one way to ensure Americans have the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and the economy has the skilled workforce it needs to grow.” – Cheryl Oldham, Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation