Reskilling for the future of work
We live in a world of growth, rapid change and new ideas. Long gone are the days of doing one job for most of your working life. The average employee stays in a role for around 15 months which could mean as many as 37 different jobs across your career. Even if you do stay put, chances are you will find yourself working with new technology and techniques thanks to the rapid rate at which businesses are growing and changing. In this environment learning is the only truly transferable skill.
So, who is responsible for reskilling future workers? Employers? Employees? Government? It’s a tricky question to answer and the truth is that everyone has their little piece of responsibility.
Employees: learn how to learn
In the future, individuals will be hired less on what they already know and more about their ability to continue learning and redefining their roles in the process. The ‘how’ will matter less and less, especially as distributed workforces and gig-economies become more common. Rather than tracking time-sheets and reviewing workflows, managers will focus on outcomes and reward those who can get things done, and get them done well.
Employees will need to be adaptable and willing to continue growing in their field. This is a much easier task if you have a good idea of your current strengths, as well as an idea of which skills you could be developing further. The Future Skills Assessment is designed to provide you with a detailed and personalised breakdown of these skills. This will give you confidence in your own abilities and help you show your employer that you’re the right person for the job. Take the initiative and see what your next steps look like.
Employers: create learning opportunities
Employers will need to think about investing in the right environment for lifelong learners to continue their development at work. At a minimum, there should be space and time allocated for learning activities. The ROI of this may not be immediately obvious but the negative impacts of not doing it will be unavoidable. In order to keep up with the pace of change and to retain good talent, learning needs to be part of the kaupapa of your organisation.
The other approach is to undertake learning at an organisational level to tackle some of these challenges head-on. This doesn’t need to be a classic professional development course with dry speakers and a poorly formatted slide deck. For example, having all of your employees complete a Future Skills assessment provides individual upskilling along with organisation wide benefits. Getting an overview of your organisation’s collective skills can help guide project planning, professional development plans and performance reviews and even help to optimise teams for success! You could also run an innovation sprint to identify key issues and rapidly generate new ideas to help your business succeed.
World Economic Forum states that “Investment in developing the talent and potential of all people can be the bridge we need to move to inclusive, sustainable growth that leverages technology to create opportunities for all.” There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to learning – the only requirement is that you make it one of your top priorities.
Public Sector: lead the charge on learning
There are already a lot of options for individuals and businesses to get their education fix. That being said, New Zealand isn’t exactly leading the world on this front. According to the Global Innovation Index, New Zealand is ranked number 1 in the world for our regulatory environment. Despite this, our overall standing and innovative outputs remain comparatively low. This suggests that we aren’t tapping into our potential as well as we could be.
Educators and academic institutions will need to digitally transform themselves, and at the same time provide services that are geared to future skilling requirements. The education system needs to be fit for purpose by reorganising systems of study and training, so they are more receptive to learning throughout life and funded accordingly.
Chris Gray from the UK’s Manpower suggests that “The average person entering the workforce in 2030 will have to plan to reboot their skills eight to ten times throughout their working life.”
Employers will need to rethink jobs, protect people and work with others to pool resources, ideas and investments. They will need to invest in learning and development opportunities in their organisation. Training will become strategic and HR will need to remove rigid, obsolete roles and prioritise flexibility, while becoming more agile in developing the right talent management strategies.
Børge Brende, the president of World Economic Forum proposes that “Reskilling initiatives will be key to ensuring both that individuals have access to economic opportunity by remaining competitive in the new world of work, and that businesses have access to the talent they need for the jobs of the future.”
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