Who owns Future skill-building?

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Posted by Jeff Schwartz and David Mallon on March 04, 2019.

Companies need skilled workers to stay in business. Workers need skills to get a job and advance. It’s a two-way street. So who’s responsible for ensuring the workforce is developing the right skills and they are available at the right time? And what about the near-constant need to reskill and upskill as technology evolves? Do other institutions in society have a role and a responsibility, too—education? government? Asking and answering hard questions like these is part of the ongoing rise of the social enterprise and the growing power of individuals to influence organizational behavior.

We used two recent Twitter polls to get a sense of current organizational practices concerning reskilling and workers’ expectations about those practices. From the results, it appears some organizations are stepping up, at least partially, to support reskilling. But the large percentage of “No” responses is concerning.

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This reinforces/amplifies our findings from the 2018 Global Human Capital Trends research: 59 percent of our survey respondents rate their organizations as not effective or only somewhat effective at empowering people to manage their own careers. Improvement in this area is essential to attract critical talent, especially as technology shifts the skills landscape.1 Nearly half (48 percent) of surveyed Millennials and 44 percent of Gen Z say opportunities for continuous learning are very important when choosing to work for an organization.2

Clearly there’s a talent retention component to this as well. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of those who plan to stay with their employers more than five years say their organizations are strong providers of education and training.3

We expect all jobs to change and be redesigned, so everyone needs the training and the support to reskill, which includes programs, time, resources, and incentives. Given the relatively slow response and resources for reskilling coming from public education and government institutions, a disproportionate share of the reskilling challenge will fall directly to individuals and companies.

What are these “new skills”? Certainly some are technology-based, but in our Trends research, respondents listed complex problem-solving, cognitive abilities, and social skills as the most needed capabilities for the future.4

We all have a stake in making the shifts needed for 21st-century careers, and HR and business leaders have a particularly big role to play in helping individuals and businesses rise to the challenge.

Learn more and take action here.

Jeff Schwartz is a principal in the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP and serves as Deloitte’s global leader for Human Capital Marketing, Eminence, and Brand, and the US leader for the Future of Work. He launched Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends research in 2011.

David Mallon is vice president and chief analyst at Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP.


1 Dimple Agarwal, Josh Bersin, Gaurav Lahiri, Jeff Schwartz, Erica Volini, “From careers to experiences: New pathways,” 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, https://hctrendsapp.deloitte.com/reports/2018/from-careers-to-experiences.html.
2 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Millennials disappointed in business, unprepared for Industry 4.0.
3 Ibid.
4 Dimple Agarwal, Josh Bersin, Gaurav Lahiri, Jeff Schwartz, Erica Volini, “From careers to experiences: New pathways,” 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, https://hctrendsapp.deloitte.com/reports/2018/from-careers-to-experiences.html.

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