In addition to investing in reskilling initiatives, it is critical that organizations realize that reskilling is not simply a one-time exercise, but a continuous, career-spanning journey that must be informed by data and predictive analytics. Only through a data-driven, targeted reskilling approach can we successfully help individuals' future-proof their careers by teaching them the right skills at the right time. This will ultimately result in higher wages for workers, bring more people back to work, and provide businesses with the talent they need to get our economy back on track.
Talent scarcity is so widespread and varied across the entire workforce. This is one reason the current labor shortage is so difficult to tackle. Both small businesses and large corporations have open positions they can’t fill, and while much has been made of the dearth of workers in service industries like restaurants and retail, higher paying sectors like healthcare and tech are also struggling to find talent with the specialized skills they require.
While businesses are having trouble attracting talent, workers have also expressed difficulty adjusting to the new normal. According to a recent worker survey from Monster, 86 percent of workers feel their career has stalled during the pandemic, 54 percent don’t believe they have the skills to succeed in the new world of work, and 34 percent think the best way to advance their career is to leave their current job and find a new employer.
When you combine the fact that women left the workforce in unprecedented numbers during the pandemic with the reality that Americans are quitting their jobs at record rates, something needs to change in the way that organizations engage with and nurture talent. And let’s not forget the relentless progress of the fourth industrial revolution, in which automation and artificial intelligence are anticipated to displace 85 million jobs by 2025 while simultaneously creating 97 million new roles that will require new skill sets.
For these reasons, we must prioritize reskilling both for low-wage workers who are at risk of losing their jobs to automation and want to acquire new competencies to increase their earning potential, as well as highly specialized talent who require new skills to keep up with technology, remain relevant in their fields, and continue to advance their careers.
So, how can organizations take both a wide, democratized approach to reskilling while also addressing the unique needs of individual workers? First, you can move beyond the outdated notion of hiring for a role and instead focus on hiring workers who possess the skills for the work that needs to get done. Additionally, organizations should invest in developing the skills they need internally by reskilling or upskilling existing employees. The good news is organizations are increasingly aware that providing training opportunities to their current workers is an ideal way to boost institutional knowledge and improve worker satisfaction and retention through internal mobility.
(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in Forbes. The original article can be found at https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccahenderson/2021/08/05/using-technology-to-drive-skilling-and-the-post-pandemic-recovery/?sh=36208a5f09df)