When employees leave your company, they take their skills with them. When someone stagnates at your company, his or her skills do not improve. That’s why many make use of skill-based hiring and training to avoid loss of skills.
According to The Future of Jobs Survey of senior talent and strategy executives from over 370 leading global employers, the most important future workplace strategy is to “invest in reskilling current employees.” Sixty-five percent of the respondents of the survey, conducted by World Economic Forum, will pursue this strategy.
We are already seeing expiration dates of current worker’s skill sets, so workers are expected to keep building their skills through training and learning programs to stay relevant. The survey identified “mobile Internet, cloud technology” (22%) and “processing power, Big data” (13%) as the top two technologic drivers already impacting employees’ skills.
It is not just employers that see lifelong learning as a requirement. In a separate survey by Pew Research, “The State of American Jobs,” 54% of workers say training/skills development throughout their work will be “essential,” and 33% say it is “important, but not essential.”
Skills should be the focal part in identifying future candidates and the basis of future learning programs (onboarding, training, performance reviews, etc.). Companies should forecast their future workforce on the skills they need and hire based on these skills. There are a few reasons for this, and to paraphrase what the U.S. Department of Labor says, “Skills are the ticket.”
It is too difficult to get a handle on demand for particular occupations or specialties because they are changing too fast. According to The Future of Jobs Survey, “The most in-demand occupations or specialties did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago, and the pace of change is set to accelerate.” So, as you think about your future workforce demands, consider thinking in skills.
You can define skills; they are tangible, something to talk about. Even as new technical skills are being added (as new applications and technologies are being introduced), many of the underlying transferable skills remain relatively constant. I call these skills the ‘verb’ in knowledge. They define how we think, converse, problem solve, create, engineer, write, debate, play, and so on. They are the foundation of all learning.
Tomorrow we’ll look at measuring skills and handling automation and artificial intelligence.