They collected their data over the past 18 months, by examining 4.2 million job ads and extracting certain bits of information from them, including skill requirements.
And this is what has gotten people so excited: The survey says...employers want 21st century skills! (...in 2016! Whodathunkit?)
But here's the thing:
1. P21 and other 21C types created a buzz around all these fantabulous new skills that humans supposedly didn't have before, and suddenly need now, in order to live long and prosper in the 21st century. A consultancy industry was born.
2. Power People attended junkets filled with over-hyped consultants, heard the buzzwords, splashed about in them without so much as a "hmmmm", and traipsed their muddy feet back out into the world. A meme was born (as in, Dawkin's original usage of the word).
3. It filtered out into human resource and marketing departments, and they become well-versed in how to use the metalanguage without, ironically, much critical analysis applied.
4. Thinktank group collected data samples by scouring job ads written by HR types and - shazaam! - suddenly businesses need creatively enterprising and critically-thinking problem-solvers to help leverage exciting opportunities moving forward.
I know this makes me come across like a cynical cow (meh, I'm going to call it critical thinking :P) but sometimes the world of education and its surrounds just reminds me of an episode of Utopia.
But rather than snuggle up comfortably under my doona of cynicism, I decided to find out why all this 21st century hoopla has been like a mozzie buzzing around my ear lately. So during my Trove trawl yesterday I had a sticky beak at what kind of "skills" were being discussed in the last century.
A brief browse brought me back this article from 1983 (when I was in Year 2). It's talking about creativity and communication and many of the "21st century" concepts, but perhaps not as neatly packaged as now. Meanwhile, in this article from 1992, we have an industry representative declaring the following:
Have the skills really changed all that much since the 80s and 90s, or have we just gotten slicker with how we package them up and sell them? Have we simply hit Peak Buzzword?
Anyway, I'm sure this rant is simply the product of two weeks worth of edu-reading-gluttony and being hit over the head with buzzwords, and I'll return to my regular programming once I'm back in the classroom. In the meantime, I'll soothe myself with some Weird Al.