The reasons for this growth have little to do with the content of tests themselves, because that has stayed more or less the same for three decades. What has changed, instead, is the workplace.
As industries become more technical and specific, the cost of training an employee in the particulars of a job becomes higher, so if that employee leaves, that's a large investment walking out the door. Employers want a guarantee that a new hire will stick -- and the best way to do that is to make sure that job and candidate are a good fit in the first place.
Globalization has also complicated hiring. Time was when promotions were gained because the boss saw you daily and was impressed by your work first-hand. That is less likely if the boss is in the New York office and you are in Hong Kong.
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