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Trend 8: Upskilling and reskilling

It’s back to school for everyone in 2024

Published on

January 19, 2024


Note: This post is part of our Special Report: Top 10 people & culture trends for 2024.

With ongoing, rapid advances in AI and other disruptive technologies, continuous learning and development is the name of the game this year.  

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023, employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years. Not surprisingly, with the advent of AI, the most in-demand skills are decidedly “human.” The report found that among the 10 highest-priority skills to train for from 2023-2027, topping the list is analytical thinking—set to account for 10% of all training initiatives—followed by other critical skills like curiosity, empathy and agility.

Other studies have found that while skills gaps affect a range of roles spanning sectors, they seem particularly acute in the tech sector. A global survey indicated a dire shortage of skilled workers for these tech roles: cloud computing specialists (41%), those with an artificial intelligence/machine learning background (27%), security architects (25%), IT technicians (24%), data analysts (24%) and others.

Who is responsible for L&D? Everyone.

Employers and employees agree on the need to upskill but disagree on whether it’s happening.  

A recent survey of 1,600 professionals found that half of executives believe there’s a strong culture of learning in their organizations, but only one in five employees strongly agrees. And when it comes to AI specifically, it’s likewise unclear who is responsible for upskilling the workforce. According to data from ServiceNow’s recent World of Work study, 49% of Canadians plan to pursue their own AI training, while 57% anticipate getting additional training at work.

We see it as a mutual responsibility. Both employers and employees need to commit to ongoing reskilling and upskilling to make career development possible. Rather than a one-and-done “we sent you on a course,” it’s a continuous investment in learning the most in-demand skills at every opportunity.

Tips for 2024

  • Develop analytical thinking: Add to your training plan case scenarios to develop this skill.  
  • Consider training new hires on a couple of different seats. For example, train on recruitment and account management, so they have the skills required to move if the market shifts.
  • Develop upskilling programs for individuals based on their seat and where you see gaps. For each seat in our organization, we develop a matrix of required skills and then tailor a program to build them.
  • Foster knowledge transfer: With roughly 1,000 people retiring in Canada EVERY DAY (making ours the largest generation in Canadian history to move into retirement), be sure to identify successors, and then ask those approaching retirement to document all processes and train these younger team members on critical skills.  
  • Hire skilled contractors to upskill permanent employees. For example, consider hiring a contractor with the latest cybersecurity knowledge to upskill your in-house tech team members.
  • Launch a white-collar apprenticeship program. Can’t find skilled workers for critical roles? Launch an apprenticeship program to hire and train up employees with the latest skills in cybersecurity, accounting, data analytics, design, business operations, and more. Read more about it here. Benefits include:
    • Creates opportunities in high-paying, salaried roles for people who lack experience and education.
    • Helps with DEI, as you can hire from underrepresented groups.
    • Helps with retention; apprentices make for long-tenured employees.

Read our next trend to watch in 2024: Trend 9: Performance feedback in 2024: Time to tailor it by generation.

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