In the News, Report

The Future of Jobs – Rethinking education systems, incentivizing lifelong learning and cross-industry and public-private collaboration

The impact of technological, demographic and socio-economic disruptions on business models will be felt in transformations to the employment landscape and skills requirements, resulting in substantial challenges for recruiting, training and managing talent. Several industries may find themselves in a scenario of positive employment demand for hard-to-recruit specialist occupations with simultaneous skills instability across many existing roles. For example, the Mobility industries expect employment growth accompanied by a situation where nearly 40% of the skills required by key jobs in the industry are not yet part of the core skill set of these functions today.

At the same time, workers in lower skilled roles, particularly in the Office and Administrative and Manufacturing and Production job families, may find themselves caught up in a vicious cycle where low skills stability means they could face redundancy without significant re- and upskilling even while disruptive change may erode employers’ incentives and the business case for investing in such reskilling. Not anticipating and addressing such issues in a timely manner over the coming years may come at an enormous economic and social cost for businesses, individuals and economies and societies as a whole.

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Longer Term Focus

Rethinking education systems: By one popular estimate 65% of children entering primary schools today will ultimately work in new job types and functions that currently don’t yet exist. Technological trends such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution will create many new cross-functional roles for which employees will need both technical and social and analytical skills. Most existing education systems at all levels provide highly siloed training and continue a number of 20th century practices that are hindering progress on today’s talent and labour market issues. Two such legacy issues burdening formal education systems worldwide are the dichotomy between Humanities and Sciences and applied and pure training, on the one hand, and the prestige premium attached to tertiary-certified forms of education—rather than the actual content of learning—on the other hand. Put bluntly, there is simply no good reason to indefinitely maintain either of these in today’s world. Businesses should work closely with governments, education providers and others to imagine what a true 21st century curriculum might look like.

Incentivizing lifelong learning: The dwindling future population share of today’s youth cohort in many ageing economies implies that simply reforming current education systems to better equip today’s students to meet future skills requirements—as worthwhile and daunting as that task is—is not going to be enough to remain competitive. Ageing countries won’t just need lifelong learning—they will need wholesale reskilling of existing workforces throughout their lifecycle. Governments and businesses have many opportunities to collaborate more to ensure that individuals have the time, motivation and means to seek retraining opportunities. For example, Denmark allocates funding for two weeks’ certified skills training per year for adults, and the strong emphasis the country places on in-work training helps explain its very high degree of employment mobility, with 70% of workers considering mid-career transitions a ‘good thing’, compared to 30% or less in most other European countries. At the company-level, technology can be continuously leveraged to upskill and re-skill employees.

Cross-industry and public-private collaboration: Given the complexity of the change management needed, businesses will need to realize that collaboration on talent issues, rather than competition, is no longer a nice-to-have but rather a necessary strategy. Businesses should work with industry partners to develop a clearer view on future skills and employment needs, pooling resources where appropriate to maximize benefits, and work more closely with governments to map a future view of skill demand versus supply. Resources should then be put into place regionally to upskill those out of work to fill high priority employment gaps. Such multi-sector partnerships and collaboration, when they leverage the expertise of each partner in a complementary manner, are indispensable components of implementing scalable solutions to jobs and skills challenges. While a single business can form one-to-one partnerships for its own talent needs, partnerships between multiple businesses, educational institutions and accreditation providers can result in an overall increase in the quality of the talent pool, at lower costs and with greater social benefits. Businesses also need to engage with governments on strategically redeploying redundant skills between sectors, addressing cost concerns and social stability.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at  The Future of Jobs – Reports – World Economic Forum

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