O*NET® Products at Work

The Growing Importance of Social Skills in the Labor Market from National Bureau of Economic Research external site

David Deming, associate professor of education and economics at Harvard University conducted a study of social skills in the workplace. He demonstrates that high-paying, difficult-to-automate jobs increasingly require social skills. Nearly all job growth since 1980 has been in occupations that are relatively social-skill intensive, while jobs that require high levels of analytical and mathematical reasoning, but low levels of social interaction, jobs that are comparatively easy to automate, have fared comparatively poorly. Using O*NET data about the tasks and abilities that occupations require, he measured the economic return of social skills, after controlling for factors like cognitive skill, years of education and occupation.