According to the latest report “Future of Jobs 2020” by The World Economic Forum, technology adoption and automation is expected to remain relentless and potentially increase in various areas, this paired with the additional stress of the current COVID-19 pandemic recession means it is inevitable that unemployment figures will continue to rise. Therefore, educating yourself about the future of jobs will fare you well, especially in the near future.
It is important to be aware that job creation is in decline while job destruction accelerates in contrast to previous years. Despite the current economic downturn, the large majority of employers recognize the value of human capital investment. However, the window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market. It is essential that the disruption of the labour force is addressed both by supporting and retraining displaced workers and by monitoring the emergence of new opportunities in the labour market. So, the public sector needs to provide stronger support for reskilling and upskilling, not only for at-risk or displaced workers, but also their employees, as it is inevitable with the current challenges of the labour market that at some point the employed will need to reskill or upskill. Therefore, identifying this now will save time, money and resources in the future.
A 2-way street between employers and employees – mutual responsibility
Companies that embrace technological adoption are savvy to the notion that this will drive future growth as well as increasing the demand for new job roles and skill sets. Artificial Intelligence is already replacing tasks that humans would normally undertake.
There is a definite skills gap within many companies that will hinder growth and leave many jobs available in the market unfilled. Those companies willing to invest in their employee base, offering opportunities to upskill and reskill will thrive, but the importance of gaining these new skills must be highlighted by employers to employees as an attractive opportunity to increase their knowledge, gain valuable skills to add to their CV’s and be prepared for the future of AI in order to ensure high employee engagement with this training and these courses.
Addressing the disruption posed by technological change, in tandem with the current challenges posed by COVID-19, requires renewed public service innovation for the benefit of affected workers everywhere. The current moment provides an opportunity for leaders in business, government, and public policy to focus common efforts on investment in human and social capital via improving the access and delivery of reskilling and upskilling, motivating redeployment and reemployment, as well as signalling the market value of learning that can be delivered through education technology at scale.
Reskilling and Upskilling…
- By 2025, around 87 million jobs are expected to be displaced by automation. However, 97 million new technology- and digitisation-related roles are also expected to be created.
- Companies must initiate effective job transitions shifting talent from areas of decline to emerging roles in the economy through well-funded reskilling and upskilling mechanisms at scale through educational technology services.
- Leaders will be called on to create efficient systems for upgrading individual’s skills and capabilities in line with emerging skills demand. Such as:
- Policies that fund reskilling and upskilling of workers who are mid-way through their career who will need further skills to secure employment in the future of work.
- Employers can signal the market value of new online-first credentials by hiring, accepting and opening up role opportunities to new cohorts of workers who have completed mid-career reskilling and upskilling.
- Companies must reorganise their strategies, and can find areas or opportunities that generate value and drive growth. In some cases they will find internal talent to contribute and in other cases it will open up new employment opportunities.
- Employers can make broader use of hiring on the basis of potential rather than current skill sets and match potential-based hiring with relevant training.
- Companies must identify where their skill shortages are and then provide on-the-job training in these specific areas so that they close the skill gaps and don’t attract the wrong talent.
- As an overarching principle, business leaders need to place equity and diversity at the heart of their talent ecosystem, ensuring that employees believe in their capacity to prosper based on merit.
- The Future of Jobs survey shows that 66% of businesses believe they can see return on investment within a year of funding reskilling for the average employee.
… for the unemployed and ensuring the employed stay employed.
- Understandably, employees do not want to waste their time gaining skills that are not highly regarded, so if there is an incentive that these skills will be well received employee engagement into reskilling and upskilling courses will increase.
- A range of motivating factors connected broadly to employees’ sense of purpose, meaning, growth and achievement can fuel reskilling and upskilling uptake.
- Also ensure that certain efforts by workers are rewarded with adequate job opportunities.
- The usual cross-functional skills are again noted, such as critical thinking and problem-solving. But, new skills such as active learning and stress tolerance have also been identified.
- Those actively seeking opportunities for personal development are highly employable and more likely to be employed, as are those who are unemployed and have placed a greater emphasis on self-learning and are upskilling.
- There has been a significant increase in reskilling and upskilling, particularly in the digital online re-skilling, especially through the pandemic.
- Employees have realised that proactivity in sourcing their own opportunities for continuous learning will ensure that they develop and secure jobs of the future, promotions and career progression.
- Finally, LinkedIn data indicates that although many individuals can move into emerging roles with low or mid skills similarity, a low-fit initial transition will still require eventual upskilling and reskilling to ensure long term productivity.
- The trend towards the use of digital online reskilling has accelerated during the restrictions on in-person learning since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Those who are unemployed have placed greater emphasis on learning digital skills such as data analysis, computer science and information technology.
- In the Future of Jobs Survey, 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018.
A Successful Workforce Investment Strategy
Therefore, it is worth thinking about upskilling and reskilling now; what has been identified from these targeted areas is a set of key elements of a successful workforce investment strategy. They include identifying workers who are being displaced from their roles; establishing appropriate internal committees to manage the displacement; funding reskilling and upskilling either wholly out of company budgets or by tapping into government funding; motivating employee engagement in this process; and tracking the long-term success of such transitions. Following these steps will not only benefit the employees but the longevity of the business.
In fact, there has been a four-fold increase in the numbers of individuals seeking out opportunities for learning online through their own initiative, a five-fold increase in employer provision of online learning opportunities to their workers and an even more extensive nine-fold enrolment increase for learners accessing online learning through government programmes.
Conclusion – collaboration is the key to job security
In conclusion, a holistic approach by the government is essential when facing the current challenges of today’s labour market. By a holistic approach – creating active linkages and coordination between education providers, skills, workers and employers, and ensuring effective collaboration between employment agencies, regional governments and national governments. Such efforts can be strengthened by multi stakeholder collaboration between companies supporting their workforce, governments willing to provide wage subsidies and fund reskilling and the localization of mid-career education programmes; professional services firms and technology firms that can map potential job transitions or provide reskilling services; labour unions aware of the impact of those transitions on the well-being of workers; and community organizations that can give visibility to the efficacy of new legislation and provide early feedback on its design. New data from the online learning platform Coursera for quarter 2 of 2020 signals a substantial expansion in the use of online learning.
Joint Commitment. Shared responsibility
Therefore, if there is shared responsibility between the government, employers and workers (employed or unemployed), ultimately, everyone will benefit from reskilling and upskilling; a calculation takes into account avoided severance and hiring costs borne by business, the avoided lag in productivity when onboarding new employees and the additional productivity of employees who feel supported and are thriving. Additional benefits to governments include the income tax dividends of citizens who are employed as opposed to out of work.