New York, NY – A study released today suggests new relationships between skills development, job success, and school. The study, 21st Century Skills and the Workplace: A 2013 Microsoft Partners in Learning and Pearson Foundation Study, conducted by Gallup, confirms the positive connection between the development of the competencies known as 21st century skills – critical thinking, real world problem solving, collaboration and communication skills – and future job success. Importantly, more than half of those surveyed (59%) said that they developed the skills they use at their current job outside of school.

The findings of the study, conducted by Gallup from April 26-30, 2013 among 1,014 individuals aged 18-35 who are either employed or students, also indicates that individuals with college degrees were more likely to have developed 21st century skills than those with a high school diploma. For example, 50% of college graduates have experience working on real-world problem solving projects, compared to 28% of high school graduates. However the youngest individuals in the study (age 18-22) were more likely than those between the ages of 23-35 to have employed 21st century skills—findings that indicate greater development of these skills in the high school years among the younger students.
The survey also looked at the correlation between student success, the classroom environment, and teacher-student relationships and found that young Americans who have teachers who care about them and know their aspirations and dreams were much more likely to have developed the key 21st century skills that are a predictor of work success.

“This survey tells us that young people know for themselves what educators already understand: that an individual’s ability to thoughtfully employ skills like critical thinking, real world problem solving, collaboration and communication correlate directly with their ability to succeed,” said Pearson Foundation President and CEO Mark Nieker. “Just as important, young people also understand that these 21st century skills have a big hand in shaping their chance for success both in- and out-of-school.”