L&D Digest

Reskilling is king. Or is it?

L&D Digest for January 2021

L&D Digest is your monthly rundown of the most important L&D news from European and global Learning and Development sources.

McKinsey & Company’s report on China’s workforce, HR Predictions for 2021 from Josh Bersin and 2021 Deloitte Global Human Trends mention the importance of reskilling. But not everyone agrees with this concept. Also, numerous sources emphasize how crucial digital skills and lifelong learning are. Learn about the newest trends and challenges in reskilling and beyond in L&D Digest for January 2021.

How can one reskill the world’s largest workforce?

Nearly one-third of the global occupational transitions needed for the future of work may be in China. That’s what McKinsey & Company estimated in its research. The firm published a report on the need to start the transformation of education and the development of skills in the country. The rationale is to make its workforce adapted to the digital age, innovation, and postindustrial time. Right now it’s prepared to fit in with the industrial economy. Additionally, to make sure the new system is sustainable the culture of lifelong learning needs to be instilled in the education. The findings also suggest China needs a skills revolution to increase living standards. 4 levers could become pilot projects to start a broader transformation. These are digital technologies, collaborative ecosystem, enhanced vocational tracks, mindset shift, and incentive schemes. Another conclusion is that the Chinese private sector would need to get involved in the global reskilling. 

I highly recommend a practical checklist of priorities for business executives. However, it can also be useful for L&D consultants and managers, for skills development in an organization published in the report as Exhibit 4.                                                                         

Reskilling and upskilling – a matter of survival for IT? 

With the shortage of tech skills on the market, many IT companies and departments face increasing difficulty in recruitment, says Emeric Kubiak in the French portal HR Voice. The short life of tech competencies does not help. According to OECD, the duration acquired IT skills become obsolete after 12-18 months. And that length keeps on getting even shorter. The author argues that voracious recruitment is not the answer to close shortages within organizations. The right identification of skills, reskilling, and upskilling is. 

Kubiak gives the example of an IT department in a big distribution company. It chose to pursue the analysis of behavioral and technical competencies of their coworkers and contractors. As a result, a lot of competencies needed at the time could be found or acquired within their team. 

Yet, the most important skill in IT, according to Kubiak is continuous learning, given the short shelf life of tech competencies.

Focus on Capabilities and Disrupted L&D

Mid-January, Josh Bersin has published his HR Predictions for 2021 report. Two of his 12 predictions are for skilling and the L&D market. The skills that will be in demand this year in organizations, according to Bersin, are tech and data skills. On top of that, individual learning promoted by the learning culture. However, most of all organizations should build capabilities that are in tune with the company itself. Bersin also suggests creating the business capability taxonomy with a list of skills needed to drive the business forward.

As for the L&D market, Bersin predicts a disruption. According to him, talent marketplace products will continue to grow in numbers, some communication tools will have built-in learning features. What’s more, learning experience platforms will grow into marketplace platforms, and learning record stores will keep all the important learning data in detail. Meanwhile, HCM giants will build up their learning modules. The demand for learning content will continue to increase sharply. 

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Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2021

Deloitte has released its annual Global Human Capital Trends report in which reskilling is one of the 5 trends indicated by the company as the ones needed to conduct the shift from survival mode to thriving mode. Here is the big 5, concisely explained:

1. Designing work for well-being

Organizations are taking well-being beyond work/life balance by introducing well-being to work—and life—itself. 

2. Beyond reskilling. Unleashing the employee’s potential 

Organizations need a different approach to workforce development. It should consider both the dynamic nature of work and the equally dynamic potential of workers to reinvent themselves.

3. Superteams

COVID-19 has taught organizations that teams are even more important to thriving amid constant disruption than they might have thought before. The goal is to integrate humans and technology into superteams that use their complementary capabilities to re-architect work in more human ways.

4.Governing workforce strategies: Setting new directions for work and the workforce

Organizations are looking for forward-facing insights about their workforce that can help them quickly pivot and set new directions in the face of uncertainty.

5.HR’s business is now re-architecting work

Thanks to their handling of COVID-19’s challenges, HR organizations have earned the right to expand HR’s remit to re-architecting work throughout the enterprise.

Everybody is talking about reskilling. But why? 

Research suggests organizations will focus on skills-building, mostly on digital skills. To give an example, in the Gartner 2021 HR Priorities Survey 68% of HR professionals said they will be focusing on building critical skills in their organizations mostly digital skills. However, in a commentary for SHRM, Brian Kropp, group vice president specializing in HR issues for Gartner, said: “One implication of that is learning and development investments are becoming harder to sustain because you might only need a skill for one year versus five years. So we think more companies will opt for ‘buying’ rather than ‘building’ to close skills gaps as the economy comes back. Hiring or ‘renting’ talent is more appealing as skill needs rapidly change”.

94.5% of Spanish and Latin American people believe their current position will evolve within 3 years

The portal RR.HH cites the study “Adaptación Digital 2021” of IEBS Business School. According to this research, 42.4% believe that their job will be completely different from their current position, and 52.1% that it will undergo only some changes due to digital transformation.

Although many companies are still in the discovery phase, more and more are joining the digital transformation process. So says the study, conducted among more than 1,500 professionals (60% from Spain and 40% from Latin America). In fact, 49.9% of respondents in Spain have indicated that their company was digitalizing. Meanwhile, 38.8% say that it is at a very advanced stage or fully at the forefront.

To compare, the data differs somewhat between Latin America and Spain. In Spain, 11.3% of respondents indicated that their company has not started the digital transformation process, compared to 17.7% in Latam. In terms of organizations that are fully up to date with new technologies, in Spain, the figure is 6.6%, while in Latin America it is only 3.1%.

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Are reskilling and digital skills the direction for you in 2021? Do you have feedback for L&D Digest for January 2021 or suggestions for the next L&D Digest? Drop us an email!

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