Upskilling and the Future of Work Featured at Davos 2021

Eric House - Jan 27 2021
Published in: Mobility
This week we continue to follow the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, or Davos, as leaders from around the world meet to discuss the critical need for upskilling in the future of work.

This week we continue to follow the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, or Davos, as leaders from around the world meet in-person and virtually to discuss ways to improve business, society, and the world at large. Yesterday we previewed critical conversations occurring today around the themes How to Save the Planet and Better Business, and we covered the sessions “Stories Move Mountains” and “Delivering Social Justice in the Recovery” that center around the ever-pressing topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).

In a preview of what is to come tomorrow at Davos, sessions will take place under such themes as Tech for Good, Better Business, and Beyond Geopolitics. And under the theme Society & the Future of Work, we’ll be watching one session in particular for the way it impacts the world of work: “Skilling the Global Workforce.” Diverse business leaders from around the world will meet to discuss how business and government can work to train and retrain the global workforce as we sail towards future jobs.

In the World Economic Forum’s report Upskilling for Shared Prosperity, it found that widescale investment in upskilling has the potential to boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $6.5 trillion by 2030. That’s a massive increase, and those countries and economies with the biggest skills gaps stand to benefit the most from upskilling incentives. According to the report, such countries could include China, the U.S., and India.

If businesses and government invest in upskilling, it could lead to the net creation of 5.3 million new jobs by 2030. Which sectors will benefit the most? According to the report, business services, manufacturing, consumer services, energy and utilities, and health and social care are the top five industries most likely to benefit from an increase in GDP from upskilling and newly created jobs.

COVID-19 Has Reshaped In-Demand Skills

The COVID-19 pandemic upended the traditional ways of working for many around the globe. With a rise in remote work, the need for rapid digital transformation and innovation was urgent to meet the needs of virtual workforces. This also transformed what skills are needed, with skills shortages occurring in tech that are now exacerbated as the demand for cyber security, data analysis and software development increase the need for professionals who can meet these challenges. Consider Singapore, which has reported a major tech talent shortage.

The changes in the way we work also exacerbated the need for the soft skills required to navigate this new normal. Communication, empathy, and relationship-building are just as important as learning to code, especially as the remote work environment puts a screen where a person used to be. The ability to connect virtually is a feat in itself, but it’s not for everyone. Learning to communicate and connect virtually is a skill that many of us are still sharpening.

Whether it’s skilling, upskilling, or reskilling, the need to invest in a comprehensive Learning and Development (L&D) strategy is urgently needed, and the time is now. While workers are remote, utilizing technology to meet L&D needs is essential, and leaders can do this by investing in virtual learning opportunities such as micro-learning, virtual learning sessions, and simulations. For mobility professionals in particular, the Worldwide ERC® Learning Portal offers a collection of online professional development courses and learning options that enable mobility professionals to expand their industry knowledge, earn badges and pursue continuing education credits. Skill building is also available through an investment Worldwide ERC® has made in LinkedIn Learning for premium subscribers.

For more on the conversations happening at Davos that affect businesses, mobility, and the world, check out our previous recaps and join us tomorrow as we follow the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting.