New and emerging technologies, like AI and automation, are radically altering the workplace. According to the 2018 Future of Jobs Report, 75 million jobs are expected to be displaced by 2022 in 20 major economies.
While there are varying predictions of how many jobs can be replaced by automation and by when, it is undeniable that it will happen – and it will happen soon. It isn’t all bad news, however; as with new industries, even though many roles will disappear, plenty more positions will be created.
Take the autonomous vehicle industry for example. No one considered self-driving cars to be a possibility a few years ago unless they were in cheesy sci-fi movies. Now, thanks to the emergence of new technology, it is a fast-growing market that shows no sign of stopping. But because of the youth of the industry and technology, there aren’t enough AV candidates to match the demand for the new jobs it has created, thus creating a skills gap in the market.
A similar outcome is emerging with the rise of automation and AI, so reskilling is only going to become more important. PWC’s most recent CEO survey reports that 38% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills as a threat to business growth.
Who is responsible?
The question then becomes: who is responsible for training the workforce in the skills needed for these new roles? Will it be the employees who need the jobs or the companies that need the new skills?
It is obviously important for employees to take responsibility for reskilling themselves. In order to future-proof their careers, workers need to be willing to evolve with industry development and embrace the change.
If companies want to retain the majority of their workforce, however, they need to put some measures in place. These measures are also necessary if they want to be able to execute growth plans at the same pace as their industry.
Lizzie Crowley, skills adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), says “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to predict the skills which organisations will need in the future, so reskilling has become more important.”
What needs to be done?
Many major companies, including Amazon, SAP and AT&T, are taking action. Action can’t just be one-size-fits-all training schemes but comprehensive plans tailored to each area of the business.
The first step companies will need to take is to plan what jobs and skills they will need in the future. These will be dependant on their growth and development strategies. From this, they can work backwards and map a route from their current workforce and their skills.
Once the journey has been planned, the training itself needs to be decided on. There are numerous ways businesses could train their workers. Training can be both in person or online, or individually or in a team. This will differ depending on the company and their unique set of needs but is vital in order to be successful.
As this is so important for ensuring a company’s future, for larger businesses, it could also be beneficial to create a role or team dedicated to reskilling their employees.
Reskilling workers is going to be a major investment of time, resources and money, which may put some companies off. But when you consider the risks of not doing so, it definitely seems worth it.