A new survey from the American Management Association (AMA) shows that U.S. executives feel that the majority of their workforce is average or below average in four critical skills.

Those surveyed said the “four Cs” -- critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity – will become increasingly important in the fast-paced, competitive global economy. These abilities were named as priorities for employee development, talent management, and succession planning. In fact, the majority agreed that their employees are measured in these skills during annual performance appraisals and that job applicants are assessed in these areas during the hiring process.

More than half of the executives surveyed reported that there is significant room for improvement in these competencies among their employees.

AMA conducted the "2012 Critical Skills Survey"  online in December 2012.