Does the Western World Lag Behind in Technical Skills?

The United States may be known as the “land of opportunity,” but a recent competition revealed American professionals have not capitalized on the opportunity to showcase their technical skills on a global scale.

The 2008 Worldwide Competition — conducted from October 2007 to May 2008 by Certiport Inc., a provider of digital literacy and desktop productivity training, assessment and certification solutions — challenged participants from around the world to demonstrate their skill sets pertaining to the Microsoft Office suite.

“I think the appeal of the competition [could be attributed to the fact that] the world has shrunk to an extent where people are trying to not only compare and contrast themselves inside a school district or even country, but they’re trying to find out how well they stack up with people in other parts of the world,” said David Saedi, president and CEO of Certiport Inc.

For half a decade, winners of the competition have emerged primarily from Far Eastern countries such as Thailand and Singapore. Why is it that the United States and other Western countries appear to be lagging so far behind?

“About 20 years ago, [the U.S.] led the world in so many different aspects, but I think we have [lost] that competitive edge,” Saedi said. “I think we’re still banking on our prior performances and world rankings. And I think that’s pretty dangerous. So hopefully [these] competitions showcase these kinds of trends and we’ll be able to [ensure that individuals] in the United States…

Deanna Hartley


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