Human Resources

Gartner Glossary

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics (KSAOs)

Knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics (KSAOs) are the attributes required to perform a job:

  • Knowledge refers to the body of factual or procedural information that can be applied, such as knowledge of foreign languages or computer programming languages.
  • Skills are the capabilities require to perform tasks accurately, such as psychomotor activities like typing speed or driving ability.
  • Abilities are more stable characteristics that can include cognitive, sensory and physical abilities, such as empathy.
  • Other characteristics are traits that do not fit into the other categories, including values, work style, personality and degrees and certifications.


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