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Only approximately 1 percent of the world's population scores a 140 or higher on IQ tests.  (Source: Talking Rainbow)
Says lower IQ rates will help it deal with smaller U.S. talent pool

The U.S. has arguably been the most desirable place in the world to get a college education with international students from China, India, Japan, and others all traveling to the U.S. with that express purpose.  However, there's serious signs of trouble; U.S. citizens' college graduation rates are in danger of falling behind China.  Japanese enrollment is down as U.S. universities are slowly falling out of favor.  And at least one executive of an Indian firm complained that American graduates were "unemployable".

Adding to the list of awkward statistics is a recent announcement by Bleum Inc., a Chinese outsourcing company.  In China, with a deluge of available highly-intelligent graduates, Bleum Inc. requires that its workers score over 140 on an IQ test.

When it decided to recruit American computer science graduates, though, it decided that bar was way too high.  It dropped the requirement for the Americans down to 120, a move it says reflects a lower pool of talented college grads in the U.S.

Bleum says the move is meant as no affront to the U.S.  Its founder and CEO Eric Rongley is actually an American himself.  He says that in China his firm gets thousands of applications a week from eager college grads.  With about 1,000 employees, his firm hires less than 1 percent of those who apply.  He states, "It is much harder to get into Bleum than it is to Harvard."

Rongley has been targeting U.S. college grads in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver for positions.  After passing the lower IQ test, U.S. grads must next pass a skills test -- just like their Chinese peers.  The recruiting effort has already yielded its first five employees, who just embarked to Shanghai.  They will spend a year-long stint in China and then return to the U.S.

Dennis Garlick, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of an upcoming book called 
Intelligence and the Brain, says such tests are relatively commonplace, but are a mixed bag.  He states that the difficulty arises "because an IQ test measures abstract reasoning in a general context, and on-the-job performance requires abstract reasoning in a specific context."

But he adds, "[If a candidate scores high,] you can reasonably say that the person is likely to be able to understand typical abstract concepts as they are applied in business, understand instructions, follow them, and then generalize them in a new situation."

Is it a disappointing sign that there's less American grads that meet the IQ requirements (according to Bleum) than Chinese grads?  Or is that merely a sign that few U.S. grads are interested in applying a job overseas?  Either way, Bleum's openness about its hiring policies raises interesting questions about the U.S. and graduation, in a time when that issue remains a key concern.

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Higher IQ != Better Employee
By acase on 7/8/2010 9:45:00 AM , Rating: 4
The difference between Americans and other places like China is that here we are taught a wide array of things and taught to do cognitive thinking and think for ourselves. The Chinese are taught how to pass tests.

A coworker of mine just got back from teaching over there for a year and sure the kids could do complex math or recite things out of a text book, but the second he would ask them to relate an answer to themselves and how they thought about it...crickets.

By aegisofrime on 7/8/2010 9:48:17 AM , Rating: 2
Coming from a Chinese culture (though not being from China myself), I totally concur with you. This is partly because thinking for oneself is considered dangerous or anti-social as in Chinese culture the individual is supposed to put society over self, and defer to authority. In other words, let the government do the thinking for you.

The ill-effects of this is apparent in the innovation that comes out of not just China, but also countries with large Chinese populations.

By transamdude95 on 7/8/2010 9:57:03 AM , Rating: 3
Very true. However, don't expect this to change as it ties in directly with Chinese society. They look negatively upon their citizens thinking for themselves and back this up with their educational system. Good for the whole > good for the self.

RE: Higher IQ != Better Employee
By MrTeal on 7/8/2010 10:21:51 AM , Rating: 3
The difference between Americans and other places like China is that here we are taught a wide array of things and taught to do cognitive thinking and think for ourselves. The Chinese are taught how to pass tests.

Given how IQ tests are usually performed, if what you say is true then the Americans should outperform the Chinese, if their intelligence tests are anything like the ones here. The ones I've done in past (WAIS-III) didn't focus on being able to do complex arithmetic so much as pattern recognition, verbal skills, and reading comprehension.

Granted, like any test (take the LSAT for an example) you can get practiced at the types of questions you would get to improve your score. Still, it's a standardized test, so if the mean and standard deviation are the same as in the west, it's probably pretty representative.

I think it's more a case of if you have 1000 Chinese applicants for 10 positions you can be pretty picky, if you have 15 from the US you might have to lower your standards.

By Master Kenobi on 7/8/2010 6:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
ask them to relate an answer to themselves and how they thought about it...crickets.

I have to argue from an educational standpoint, what does it matter how the question relates to themselves or how they thought about it? The real test is when you throw these people into the field and say hey, solve that problem. If they can do it without trouble, applying learned knowledge into identifying and developing an appropriate solution that would require incorporating many different areas of their education. Then they pass.

I find both the US and China to be severely lacking in this area. Any idiot can apply textbook solutions to textbook problems, and any idiot can talk about how a problem makes them feel or what their opinion is on a subject. The real skill and test of education/intelligence is being able to actually do something with it.

Can you take what you have learned and solve a brand new problem that has not been encountered before? If yes, outstanding. If no, then go do some repetitive job that robots will be doing in the next decade or two.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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