Following the pandemic, global labour trends have shifted rapidly. People’s choices about where and how they work now and in the future are and will be vastly different from what they were a few years ago. As businesses across the board accelerate their adoption of automation and emerging technologies, labour markets across all sectors have seen drastic shifts in terms of talent requirements and demands.
As a result, there is a growing skills shortage all over the world. As workers require more technical and digital skills to master emerging technologies, many organisations risk falling behind due to an undereducated and underprepared workforce. Businesses must take the necessary steps now to ensure that their workforce, both current and future, has the necessary training and digital skills to thrive in the working environment that will emerge over the next decade.
According to the World Economic Forum, 150 million new technology jobs will be created globally over the next five years, with more than three-quarters (77%) of all jobs requiring digital skills by 2030. Only one-third (33%) of technology jobs worldwide are currently filled by skilled labour.
From a business standpoint, this means that the talent pool is severely diluted: for every skilled worker, there are two unskilled, unequipped workers. And it is clear that many workers face long-term unemployment unless they are reskilled and better prepared for the new digital and technology skills demanded by this changing job market.
One thing is certain for businesses looking to the future: unless we rapidly change the ways we re-skill and upskill workers, this mass of untapped potential will only grow as new technologies emerge.
As more innovative technologies emerge, the strongest and most employable candidates for businesses are those who are most adaptable to change, rather than those who are the most intelligent. When it comes to learning new skills and overcoming new challenges, these candidates are not reactive or aversive, but rather responsive and receptive. As we seek to refine the way work is done and make operations more efficient and effective, the new normal of business will be fuelled by exponential advancements in new and emerging technologies.
Change will continue unabatedly. When we talk about preparing the workforce with the digital and technology skills required for ‘the future of work,’ we are not referring to the potential needs of the global labour market in 2030, but to an urgent need that clearly exists today. Businesses must act quickly or risk becoming obsolete.
The Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered as both a global health crisis and a watershed moment in how we work: a watershed moment that resulted in significant, long-term changes to the working world. Businesses around the world have accelerated digitalisation and the adoption of technologies such as internet of things (IoT) devices, virtual presences, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and immersive experiences in response to lockdowns. In many cases, this has resulted in much-needed disruption of established industries, with hugely positive democratisation of finance, education, job training, and even human capital and talent sourcing.
The pandemic also accelerated previously established trends in remote work, e-commerce, and digital transformation. To remain relevant in the current and future workforce, up to 25% more workers discovered the need to switch occupations and re-skill or upskill. These shifts have undoubtedly altered recruitment parameters, required skill sets, and talent development goals across all industries, leaving millions of workers completely unprepared for these abrupt changes.
Following the pandemic, workforce reskilling and upskilling is no longer an optional focus; it has quickly become an essential need for businesses all over the world.
Technological advancements are already accelerating, with businesses rushing to adopt emerging next-generation technologies like AI and automation. Businesses, however, are lacking in terms of whether their existing workforce possesses the knowledge and skill set required to master the new technology integration. This issue cannot be ignored any longer, as technology continues to advance and evolve. Given the current scarcity of a skilled workforce, it is up to organisations to ensure they provide the necessary training to train workers and combat the current scarcity of a skilled workforce.
Acclimating to emerging technology without customised or specific training can appear overwhelming and daunting, not only for inexperienced younger workers entering the modern workforce, but also for veteran workers who need to re-skill in order to remain relevant in the job market. Upskilling both current and emerging workers through curated, skills-based training programmes gives businesses the tools they need to prepare their workforce for the future of work. This workforce can then be directly redeployed back into business operations, equipped with the skills and knowledge to fully utilise next-generation technology.
Workers have found it easier to transfer and apply newly acquired skills in work environments thanks to tailored reskilling and upskilling programmes. With the increasing integration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) solutions into business strategies, workers must have access to training in these areas.
A recent PWC study, for example, discovered that workers trained in VR were up to 275% more confident in applying skills learned after training – a 40% improvement over in-person classroom training. Similarly, VR learners trained four times faster than classroom learners and four times more focused than e-learning peers.
The future workforce is already here and more than ready to adapt; the vast majority of workers simply require the tools to efficiently upskill. This task is made much easier to complete by a talent marketplace moderated by AI. Businesses can specify which training and skills they want to prioritise for their teams, and the marketplace will curate the necessary mentoring and training programmes based on their requirements. Businesses that begin this process now will be able to future-proof their workforce for years to come, reaping the benefits of a highly employable and adaptable operational team.