Technology has played a crucial role in the past 18 months. The pandemic changed not only the way we live and take care of ourselves but the way we prepare for the future. But if you look at technology merely as a tool to help us communicate, you’re missing the point of why its development will help in a company’s future success. People learned to embrace technology to help us adapt to a new way of living and working. Aside from this, we should also focus on the importance of continuous learning that will develop the skills needed to survive a post-pandemic economy.
Companies used to hire employees based on the job description. They focus on the academic qualifications rather than on the skills a particular job needs. When the pandemic happened, a whopping 60% of the workforce lacked the basic skills needed to survive in a work-from-home setting. Rather than transition smoothly to this new method of work, employees had to “learn on the job.” They do not have the necessary skills.
This is a problem because the post-pandemic world is looming and because the world will soon welcome the fourth industrial revolution. Rebecca Henderson, chief executive officer at Randstad, said that an estimated 85 million jobs will be displaced by 2025 because of the industrial revolution. Simultaneously, technology will create 97 million new jobs. These jobs will require skills that the current workforce doesn’t necessarily have.
Hurrying to Upskill
To survive in the world of automation and artificial intelligence, industries must also turn to technology. Lifelong learning is at the heart of skilling the workforce for the fourth industrial revolution. This will also help address the impact of the pandemic on the economy. Without technology, the workforce will be hard-pressed to find a single solution to the work demands skills they lack.
This is why governments such as Singapore have institutionalized skills-based courses. The SSG-supportedhre courses are competency courses that will provide employees basic and advanced skills in different fields. They can learn about information technology, robotics, and marketing, among others. Workers can take these short courses while they attend their current jobs. These courses are designed to complement the workers’ current schedule.
Aside from these, they can also attend online classes, preferring either synchronous or asynchronous lessons or a mix of both. The pandemic opened this opportunity for mid-career workers who are looking to upskills themselves. The number of online classes being offered right now should push workers to think about what skills they have to develop to keep up with the changing times.
That is not the only way to use technology to reskill and upskill workers. By now, employers should realize the need to identify what technical and soft skills they will need in the future. This future is when automation and artificial intelligence will dominate industries. Many companies are using technology even in the identification of these skills. These tools will help workers maximize their employability by identifying what skills they need to qualify for a role.
Such tools will give insights into the salaries, qualifications, skills requirement, demand, growth, and automation risk of a particular job. This information will help workers uncover their skills gap and even explore new markets for growth. If they are not ready to reskill and upskill themselves for the future of their current task, perhaps they can switch to a new market wherein they will not be required to overhaul their existing skill set.
The same tools that use predictive analysis will also identify the most vulnerable skills to have now. Some examples of vulnerable skills in the workplace are customer service, data entry, and administration. These are the skills that will no longer be in demand in the future. Word processing, for example, is another obsolete skill. Being able to type is no longer something to brag about in a few short years.
The only problem left for employers is to encourage their employees to seek these skills programs. How can they do that? They can start by incentivizing employees who will agree to be trained on skills that they need for their future tasks. Consider the direct and indirect economic costs of skilling them before building an incentive scheme.
Businesses and employees alike should be aware of their upskilling and reskilling needs. They need to identify where the problem lies and proceed to address these using technology. Only by accepting the challenges that the future presents will they be able to adapt to a world that’s not only recovering from the pandemic but also facing an uncertain future.