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Problem solving and employability

In this article, Dr Trina Jorre de St Jorre discusses employer demand for great problem solvers.
Two female doctors inspecting a chest x-ray
© Deakin University
Did you know the demand for employees with problem-solving skills is growing? In this article, Trina Jorre de St Jorre discusses problem solving in the workplace.
While problems may vary, problem solving is a skill that is important in every workplace and industry.
According to The New Basics report, problem-solving skills are in poor supply and high demand.
Demand for problem-solving skills in early-career jobs increased by 26% from 2012 to 2015, and jobs requiring problem-solving skills are often highly rewarded. On average, early-career positions stipulating that problem-solving skills were required paid AUD7745 more than jobs that did not.
However, not everyone is good at identifying and solving problems in the workplace; the processes involved can be daunting, especially when involving numerous stakeholders with diverse needs or perspectives.
Effective problem solving is not just about finding solutions. You or your team will need to:
  • identify the problem
  • analyse the problem
  • assess the impact of different solutions
  • select a solution
  • implement the solution
  • evaluate and possibly adjust the solution.
Some or all of these stages may involve consulting, negotiating and sharing the decision-making process with others. Therefore problem solving can be both a creative and a collaborative process.

Your task

How important is problem solving in your workplace, career or industry?
Why do you think the demand for good problem solvers is growing and what are your predictions about the importance of problem solving to jobs of the future?
Drawing on your own experience, knowledge or research, share and discuss your thoughts on these questions in the comments.
© Deakin University
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