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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 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.

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