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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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RE: IQ != education
By JasonMick on 7/8/2010 9:47:17 AM , Rating: 2
If it's an IQ test, then education has nothing to do with it.

In this case it does sort of, because the very first criteria is: have you graduated from college?

Basically Bleum Inc. is saying that there's less college grads in the U.S. so it can only be so picky about IQ (if there's more grads, they could raise the bar and still get the same # of people).

However, unlike other reports I try to point out that this could merely mean that there's less U.S. grads willing to work in China...

Still an interesting announcement either way, given the fact that China may have passed the U.S. in college grad rates for its citizens (I was trying to dig up current data on this and couldnt find any solid #s ... lot of statistics on HS grads, but not college grads...)

RE: IQ != education
By NesuD on 7/8/2010 10:42:34 AM , Rating: 3
However, unlike other reports I try to point out that this could merely mean that there's less U.S. grads willing to work in China...


And the possibility that China has a larger talent pool to draw on for applicants. Doesn't mean that as a percentage of the talent pool Americans scoring 140 on their IQ test is any different than in China. IQ tests aren't all that in the first place. Any company that disqualifies an applicant based solely on a less than 140 IQ score is missing out on great potential talent. I view that as a sign of a lazy HR department.

RE: IQ != education
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 7/8/2010 11:23:49 AM , Rating: 2
A more interesting angle on this story would be why Bleum wants US graduates if the test scores are lower. Why not just hire all Chinese graduates?

Part of the reason is probably that Bleum needs a US sales force since all of its services are in China, and it leaves the high-IQ requirement in place for the people in the company actually doing the work (the Chinese developers). Maybe the US team is just doing systems analysis.

Or perhaps in spite of higher IQ scores, US graduates have certain inate abilities that IQ tests can't measure, as some posters have already hinted at. Which is it? Or both, or some other reason?

Why did they lower the score requirement is the key to answering the question (of course lacking from the great DT aggregator.)

RE: IQ != education
By afkrotch on 7/8/2010 9:13:25 PM , Rating: 1
The difference is that the US is taught to think outside the box. China, not so much. That's dangerous talk there.

RE: IQ != education
By HakonPCA on 7/8/2010 12:54:28 PM , Rating: 3
Basically Bleum Inc. is saying that there's less college grads in the U.S.

So about 34% of American's 25 years + have an associate degree or higher (US Census) - Thats 34% out of just under 200m people. Call this 70m College Grads.

As of the year 2000, about 3.6% of Chinese over 15 have done any schooling post-secondary through advanced degrees (Wikipedia, yea I know) - that's only about 40m people with some college through advanced degree currently. (1.37b people, 80.2% are age 15+, 3.6% education level of age 15+)

But this is not recent or current college Grads, but looking at total grads, 70m vs 40m is not more.

But with China, its almost always a numbers game, they have 4.5 times our population so current grads may be higher, not as a percent but as a whole number; I didn't quickly find that data.

I think you're right that they have far fewer grads applying from the US, and this is great publicity for more grads to apply during a down US economy.

RE: IQ != education
By JediJeb on 7/8/2010 4:46:15 PM , Rating: 2
Of course one thing that skews the numbers is that in China not just anyone who wants to go to college can go. The requirements to enter college could be much higher than here which could mean a greater percentage of the college graduates in China are of higher IQ. If only those with 140+ IQs are allowed in, then you won't find the 125 IQ graduates in China. Likewise if you allow everyone with IQs of say 90+ to enter college in the US then our average would be lower.

As many have said though, IQ alone does not equal competence.

RE: IQ != education
By nafhan on 7/8/2010 2:00:22 PM , Rating: 3
Doesn't it actually mean there are less people applying for this specific job? I would assume they don't have access to all US college grads, just the ones that apply. This could mean that to US college grads working Bleum is not as desirable as working for, say, MS, Google, or others.

RE: IQ != education
By marvdmartian on 7/8/2010 3:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
Funny, I actually took it to mean, too, that there were fewer U.S. graduates who could score high on an IQ test. Further proof, imho, of the "dumbing down" of America.

Take a look at your typical 4 year college education, and some of the useless classes that are required. Take a look, too, at the fact that your typical professor is sometimes more willing to impress their students with thier political beliefs, than any real world facts. Combine that with the generally poorer preparation they have coming into higher education, and you end up with a college graduate that may not have the smarts that their parents or grandparents generation of graduates had in their day.

Let's not forget the educational standards that put more emphasis on standardized testing, from kindergarten up through high school, than they do on actually TEACHING the kids something, and making them use their brains and imagination. Oh, and let's not forget the fact that there are no winners, there are no losers, let's all just hold hands and sing kum-buy-ya and have a group hug mentality that does NOTHING to make the kids of this country want to excel in life.

Sadly, none of these "dumbed down" kids will be smart enough to get mad and do something about making certain their own kids don't go through the same mess.

RE: IQ != education
By JediJeb on 7/8/2010 4:54:39 PM , Rating: 2
If you think about it, that is exactly what the government would want, citizens that really don't know how to think for themselves and figure out what they are doing.

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