Journalist’s Resource: Social skills are increasingly valuable to employees

Jobs with social skills are paying higher wages as the labor markets respond to automation, a new paper finds.
“Computers are still very poor at simulating human interaction,” writes David Deming of Harvard University. “Human interaction requires a capacity that psychologists call theory of mind — the ability to attribute mental states to others based on their behavior, or more colloquially to ‘put oneself into another’s shoes.’”
Looking at data on employment, wages and types of job tasks over several decades, Deming quantifies the added value of these social skills.
The data come from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network, a periodic survey on the abilities, activities, skills and knowledge required for different occupations. And for individuals’ skills and wages, Deming uses the 1979 and 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a representative sample collected regularly by the Labor Department.
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