It is hard to define things like critical thinking: the concept is far too abstract.
Some have claimed that critical thinking is not a skill as much as an attitude, a “critical spirit” — whatever that might mean (of course it could be both).
Martin Davies does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
There has been a spate of articles and reports recently about the increasing importance of critical thinking skills for future employment.
Others have suggested that it comprises skills in argumentation, logic, and an awareness of psychology (cognitive biases).
But this does not help get a crisp and clear understanding.A 2015 report by the Foundation for Young Australians claims demand for critical thinking skills in new graduates has risen 158% in three years.This data was drawn from an analysis of 4.2 million online job postings from 6,000 different sources in the period 2012-2015.Employers have long been insisting on the importance of critical thinking skills.In 2006, a major report by a consortium of more than 400 US employers ranked “critical thinking” as the most desirable skill in new employees.This was a little more than for those with skills in financial literacy (,224) and creativity (,129).However, presentation (,853) and digital literacy (,648) skills appeared to be the most desired – or rewarded.Being a good critical thinker is a desirable trait for getting a job in today’s economy. What business or enterprise does not want a good critical thinker?Actually, none of this is really new – although the pace might have quickened of late.There is some justification in the claim that universities do not teach critical thinking, despite their oft-cited claims that they do.In the US media recently, there was a heightened concern about the teaching of critical thinking in universities.