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Title: Skill  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Engineering technician, Dreyfus model of skill acquisition, Learning, NCIDQ, Personal development
Collection: Learning, Skills
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Pyramid / Hierarchy of Skills is similar to the Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

A skill is the learned ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both.[1] In other words, the abilities that one possesses. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be useful only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

People need a broad range of skills in order to contribute to a modern economy. A joint ASTD and U.S. Department of Labor study showed that through technology, the workplace is changing, and identified 16 basic skills that employees must have to be able to change with it.[2]


  • Labour skills 1
  • Life skills 2
  • People skills 3
  • Social skills 4
  • Soft skills 5
  • Hard skills 6
  • Mastering skills 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Labour skills

Skilled workers have long had historical import (see Division of labor) as electricians, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, bakers, brewers, coopers, printers and other occupations that are economically productive. Skilled workers were often politically active through their craft guilds.[3]

Life skills

Life skills are problem-solving behaviors that are used appropriately and responsibly in the management of personal affairs. They are a set of human skills, acquired via learning (teaching) or direct experience, that are used to handle problems and questions commonly encountered in daily human life. The subject varies greatly depending on societal norms and community expectations.

People skills

According to the Portland Business Journal, people skills are described as:[4]

  • understanding ourselves and moderating our responses
  • talking effectively and empathizing accurately
  • building relationships of trust, respect and productive interactions.

A British definition is “the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way, especially in business.”[5] The term is not listed yet in major US dictionaries.[6][7]

The term people skills is used to include both psychological skills and social skills, but is less inclusive than life skills.

Social skills

Social skill is any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning such skills is called socialization.

Soft skills

Soft skills is a sociological term relating to a person's "EQ" (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.[8] Soft skills complement hard skills (part of a person's IQ), which are the occupational requirements of a job and many other activities.

Hard skills

Hard skills are any skills relating to a specific task or situation. These skills are easily quantifiable unlike soft skills which are related to one's personality.[9]

Mastering skills

Mastery pertains to perfecting a particular skill set. To reach mastery, authors Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Greene claim that 10,000 hours of work will have to be put into training.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Howland, J.L. (2013). Facts101: Textbook Key Facts. Contents Technologies Inc.". Retrieved 2015-10-03.
  2. ^ joint ASTD and U.S. Department of Labor study -Retraining 50 Million Americans: The Electronically Mediated Solution". Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rifkin, H. “Invest in people skills to boost bottom line” Retrieved on 2009-10-14
  5. ^ “Macmillan Dictionary” Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  6. ^ definition. Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  7. ^ Encarta dictionary definition. Retrieved on 2009-08-18
  8. ^ Career Opportunities News, 2002
  9. ^
  10. ^ Robert Greene (American author)#Mastery

External links

  • American Society for Training & Development
  • Australian National Training Authority
  • NCVER's Review of generic skills for the new economy
  • SKILLS EU Research Integrated Project
  • Skill Hierarchy Pyramid
  • Skille Program from
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