How companies can lead purposeful action in the skilling revolution

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Balaji Ganapathy, Global Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Tata Consultancy Services

  • COVID-19 has further exacerbated societal inequities, and widened skill gaps.
  • Cross-sector commitments and learning agility can help bridge the gap.
  • Now is the time to bridge the skills gap among the current workforce and also future talent.

Even before the pandemic, it was thought 1 billion jobs would be transformed by technology in the next decade, fuelled by growth in areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big data.

Then COVID-19’s impact on education, work and the acceleration of technology adoption led to seismic ramifications and the scale of the challenge changed.

As industries transform their traditional business models in the wake of technology advances, it’s estimated that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025.

Education systems, too, need support to catch up; young people need real-world context and workers require the skills for emerging jobs.

In sum, we urgently need a renaissance on skills. But there’s a short window to ensure the workforce is equipped with the skills needed for the rapidly evolving workplace and twenty-first century jobs. And it’s closing fast.

The question is arising: what can key stakeholders – including governments, businesses and society – do to accelerate the skills renaissance?

Indeed, governments around the world are striving to address the skills emergency, and companies, too, are acting on their critical role in upskilling their workforces and the communities in which they operate.

As the world pivots to a new beginning, skills are the new currency —Balaji Ganapathy

But as the skills gap grows, developing innovative solutions calls for holistic thinking and collective action.

To convene public and private stakeholders and drive collective action, the World Economic Forum and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) explored the global skills landscape between 2016 and 2019.

This novel project – Closing the Skills Gap 2020 developed a Business Commitment Framework. It identifies the need for skilling in four key areas: basic education; higher education; technical and vocational training; and adult learning.

The project explored the reskilling and upskilling efforts of global businesses including BT Group, EY, Google and many more, in a bid to glean insights.

To transform skilling across this entire spectrum, the framework adopts a lifecycle approach, supporting the idea that learning agility is necessary for people to remain resilient to shifting market trends. It requires a commitment to lifelong learning from all parties.

Image: World Economic Forum/Tata Consultancy Services

No one-size-fits-all model: various findings

Implementing this framework is challenging, not least due to the wide-ranging definitions of reskilling and upskilling, which can encompass everything from basic digital literacy to employability skills.

There’s also no ‘one-size-fits-all’ training method. Closing the Skills Gap 2020 found that companies have adopted a range of approaches, from apprenticeships to digital learning platforms and experiential ‘on-the-job’ learning.

One theme recurred time and again during our dialogues: commitment from and collaboration among multiple stakeholders. This really is critical for success.

In addition, the report finds that successful upskilling takes place only if the business fully commits to the long-term learning and development of its workforce. It’s imperative that programs are woven into the learning culture of the company and embedded within its growth strategy and objectives.

At the same time, training KPIs must ensure that skilling has a long-term impact on employees’ ability to contribute to their professional aspirations and the company’s goals. (To date, most reskilling programmes are still focused on measuring the immediate reaction of the learner and the skills acquired.)

Finally, to support lifelong learning, it’s necessary to track how people are putting their newly acquired skills into practice and observe its impact on both their role and the wider organisation.

Why jobs of the future must be on the agenda, too

All this isn’t just about reskilling and upskilling the current workforce; there’s a learning gap among the next generation to address, too.

Reports show, for example, that not enough children in the UK are learning digital skills in school. In the US, most primary schools lack a computing curriculum, which is foundational for students to be innovators in an increasingly digital economy.

Programmes such as TCS’ goIT and Ignite My Future in School are designed to address these issues. Ignite My Future has so far engaged more than 15,500 teachers and nearly 900,000 students by incorporating computational thinking into every core subject, while goIT has empowered more than 80,000 students with digital innovation skills to solve real-world problems.

There are many noteworthy examples from around the globe. But they are still only a drop in the ocean.

Closing the Skills Gap 2020 was a collaborative effort that laid bare the importance of everyone from governments, business and civil society coming together to support proven solutions to close the skills gap.

The business commitments to reskill and upskill 17 million people by 2020 created proof points and paved the way for the Reskilling Revolution’s aspiration to provide one billion people with better education, skills, and jobs by 2030.

As the world pivots to a new beginning, skills are the new currency and purposeful action can empower people to create a sustainable future for all.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

During the coronavirus pandemic, we must fight for LGBTQ rights more than ever

Final preparations for DCX and IFRA Expo 2019, in association with The European Sting

How two colossal Assyrian icons were recreated using digital tech

Libya: EU efforts should focus on protecting migrants, MEPs say

Difficulties of vaccination against COVID-19

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

Project Manager – 2024

Social media and the lack of information for blood donation

Commission welcomes provisional agreement on the European Climate Law

The EU to bear the cost of eventual sanctions against Russia

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Thailand ‘now in a secure place’ says UNHCR

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

This is the life of a refugee: the constant destruction and construction of dreams every day

This is where people live the longest in the EU

Nicaragua ‘crisis’ still cause for concern amid murder, torture allegations: Bachelet

This is our chance to completely redefine the meaning of work

European Green Deal: Commission presents actions to boost organic production

Green Deal: measures to step up the fight against global deforestation

These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

It’s just electronic cigarette, don’t worry?

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

Coronavirus response: Commission welcomes agreement on crucial VAT relief for vaccines and testing kits

Portuguese Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

Romanian Presidency priorities discussed in committees

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies

Mexico: UN chief saddened by pipeline blast in which dozens were killed

The 28 EU leaders show contempt for the European Elections results

Thursday’s Daily Brief: ambulance attack in Libya, #GlobalGoals defenders, human rights in Cambodia, Swine Fever

Pay Transparency: Commission proposes measures to ensure equal pay for equal work

This is how drones and other ‘tradetech’ are transforming international trade

Make no mistake: the purpose of business is to serve society

These are the top countries for travel and tourism in 2019

Rare Disease Day: a new EU platform to support better diagnosis and treatment

Spanish and Polish voters are crying out for an imminent European change while US urge now Germany to change route

EU co-ordinating the urgent delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Moldova

Why global collaboration is needed to protect against a new generation of cyber threats

Does upgrading our minds mean losing the spark of genius?

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Countries are piling on record amounts of debt amid COVID-19. Here’s what that means

A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

Yemen: €95 million in EU humanitarian aid for people threatened by conflict and famine

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

Chinese tech investors are turning towards MENA. Here’s why

Can Obama attract Iran close to the US sphere of influence?

How our Europe will regain its strength: op-ed by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

From underestimation to valorization: how mobile technology is transforming global health

The Khashoggi affair: A global complot staged behind closed doors

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

Smart city experts should be looking to emerging markets. Here’s why

Brazil identifies a clear pathway for aligning its transfer pricing framework with the OECD standard

The public health system in Brazil as a promoter of sexual and reproductive health and rights: how does it help in the fight against HIV/AIDS?

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

At G20 Summit OECD’s Gurría says collective action vital to tackle global challenges

Top UN court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from genocide

How fungi could save the world

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

Rule of Law: Commission launches infringement procedure to protect the independence of the Polish Supreme Court

Supply chains are on the cusp of a data-fed revolution. Here’s how businesses can succeed.

Global warming: our responsibility

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s