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Why critical thinking could add thousands to your salary

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In today’s corporate world, one skill stands out as a game-changer: critical thinking. 

It’s been identified as both lacking, and preventing growth, at America’s largest companies, according to Springboard’s The State of Workforce Skills Gap, which surveyed over 1,000 corporate professionals working at organizations with at least 5,000 employees. 

The report presents some startling findings, including that one in three say the current shelf life of hard skills is under two years, 70% of leaders say there’s a skills gap, and 40% of leaders say the skills gap at their company has worsened in the last year.

Unsurprisingly, AI/machine learning is the third most-required technical skill, only trumped by data analysis and project management in first and second place respectively.

With such a short shelf life on hard skills, ambitious employees are looking at developing their soft skills, which pay dividends over the years.

Cognitive skills are lacking

Survey respondents in leadership ranked strategic/critical thinking as the top business talent that organizations need. 

This was followed by problem-solving and decision making, communication (oral/written), flexibility and adaptability, and emotional intelligence/interpersonal relationships. 

This focus chimes with the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs report finding that cognitive skills top the list of those deemed to be of the greatest importance for workers in 2023. 

It found that analytical thinking, creative thinking and self-efficacy skills (resilience, flexibility and agility), motivation and self-awareness, and curiosity and lifelong learning were all key skills required, and all recognised the importance of adapting to disrupted workplaces. 

"There's more of a focus and an interest in having people with analytical thinking, people with creativity," said Saadia Zahidi, MD of the World Economic Forum in an interview for the Radio Davos podcast.

"But it's also become very important to have leadership skills and to have social influence, and the ability to work with other people. The traits that make us human, make us able to relate with each other and to get innovative, creative things done in the workplace."

The report states that since the global economic environment is expected to remain unstable for some time to come, businesses that can adapt strategically will stand to gain an advantage, and this also applies to individuals. 

The report states: “Leaders see this opportunity, and recognize that critical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential to operate with this mindset”.

Skills gap

Unfortunately, a skills gap remains. However, 44% of junior employees say they are trying to improve their leadership and management skills, 42% are working on their communication skills, and 40% are working on their strategic/critical thinking skills. 

As the use of AI continues to accelerate, it makes sense that the kinds of soft, interpersonal skills that robots can’t quite yet automate will continue to be in high demand.

Employers appreciate job applicants who demonstrate the ability to think critically on the job. You can show this by discussing your thought process behind STAR (situation, task, action, result) stories in both your cover letter, and through situational questions in the interview process. You should also flag critical thinking and problem solving as skills on your resume.

Workers with critical thinking skills are trusted to make decisions on their own, not only saving management time but also potentially solving costly company issues. 

Think of consultants from the Big Four; these contract workers command a high daily rate precisely for their problem solving skills. Show how you can also add this kind of value, and your value will be reflected in salary gains. 

Ready to put your critical thinking skills to work? Visit the nextpit Job Board to take the next step in your career journey. Interesting companies are hiring across industries, like these three. 

Electronic Arts develops and publishes games content and services for various platforms worldwide, including household names The Sims, Need for Speed and Apex Legends. The company also licences games from others including FIFA, Madden, NFL, UFC and Star Wars brands. Though regularly hiring, positions recently available include for a technical UI artist and game design director in both Los Angeles and Orlando. Bookmark this link

For the last three decades, Adobe has invested in building a diverse and inclusive environment for its employees, customers, partners, and the tech industry as a whole. Always evolving and innovating, the company regularly hires in San Jose, Utah, New York, San Francisco in all kinds of departments like sales, account management, applied research, and program management. View Adobe roles

Multinational travel management company American Express Global Business Travel is headquartered in New York City but has 18,000 employees in more than 140 countries. As such, job postings locations range massively but you can expect to see US-based roles regularly advertised for its New York HQ and, in Scottsdale. It’s also a keen remote hirer; recent remote roles on offer include titles like sourcing manager and call center agent. See available jobs

Don't wait for your ideal job to find you – take back control by exploring the nextpit Job Board today. This article was written by Amanda Kavanagh.

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