New research shows that over the last few decades the return on having both math and social skills together is rising faster than just one or the other. Based on the article, "It's Never Been More Lucrative to Be a Math-Loving People Person."
Parents who are constantly shuttling kids to and from soccer practice or drama club might be comforted to learn that it's not in vain -- as long as their kids are good at math, too. New research shows that over the last few decades the return on having both math and social skills together is rising faster than just one or the other. What does that have to do with soccer practice? The researchers looked at two groups of U.S. high school seniors -- the class of 1972 and the class of 1992 -- to see how earnings associated with social and math skills have changed over time.
They focused specifically on white males, because this was the only group that wasn't already seeing significant job changes for other reasons. While math scores, sports, leadership roles, and college education were all associated with higher earnings, the trend over time was strongest amongst those who are both good at math and engaged in high school sports or leadership activities.
Looking more closely at the U.S. economy during the same timeframe, the data show that social skill jobs grew by 24% from 1980 to 2012, compared to only about 11% for math-intensive tasks. In fact, analytical jobs have declined since 2000, and jobs characterized by routine work have continued to decline -- all while the importance of social skills has grown. In other words, it pays to be a sociable math whiz, more so today than 30 years ago.