By 2030, as many as 375 million workers, or roughly 14% of the global workforce, may need to switch occupational categories as digitization, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence disrupt the world of work. To put that shift into context, it will have about the same impact on the workforce as the industrial revolution did. To prepare for this massive shift, organizations will have to put considerable effort and resources into reskilling their employees.
What is Reskilling?
Reskilling refers to the process of learning new skills so someone can do a different job, or training people to do a different job. Upskilling, reskilling, retraining, and even new-skilling are used interchangeably for the process. Training these workers requires teaching technical skills along with creativity, interpersonal skills, adaptability and the capacity to continue learning.
Organizations leading the way
- Amazon: Fulfillment-center employees can go through a 16-week certification program in classrooms located inside Amazon warehouses and, if the retailer hires them as data technicians, their wages will rise from an average $15 an hour to $30.
- AT&T: 180,000 employees so far have participated in its Future Ready program. Workers can assess their skills, then pursue short-term badges, nanodegrees taking up to a year to complete, or master’s degrees in fields like computer science and data science offered in partnership with institutions such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Notre Dame.
These companies are only the tip of the iceberg. 62% of executives believe they will need to retrain or replace more than a quarter of their workforce between now and 2023 due to advancing automation and digitization. The Harvard Business Review even posits that this shift will require adding a new role to the c-suite: a chief skills and learning officer (CSLO) in the same way that the role of chief technology officer became commonplace over the past two decades.
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