Skills, not jobs, must become the currency of work for organisations that want to thrive in the future, say experts
In the past couple of years, technology has reshaped the way we work irrevocably, forcing a corresponding shift in the way we look at – and use – skills at the workplace. The skills needed at work, for instance, are changing rapidly, requiring organisations and people to stay agile so that they remain relevant. All this hasn’t been easy. While some organisations and workers have embraced these changes, others have been forced to adapt, kicking and screaming.
Whatever our attitude towards it, the workplace’s “new normal” is here to stay, and it has highlighted an old problem: How do you match individuals to opportunities in the most efficient manner?
Several experts (see here, here and here) have suggested that shifting to a skills-based workplace is the best way forward. Skills are the “currency” of the new labour market, they argue, urging business leaders to embrace a skills-first approach.
“Shifting to a system where skills are the core currency of the labour market thus has the potential to tackle existing inefficiencies in job-fit between employers and employees; help prepare for a near-future of greater volatility in the labour market; and enhance opportunity, prosperity and equality for workers,” said a WEF report in 2019.
More recently, in an article titled A Skills-First Blueprint to Better Job Outcomes, LinkedIn’s Chief Economist Karen Kimbrough wrote: “As jobs evolve and demand new skills, hiring managers will need to increasingly focus less on traditional proxies like degrees, and more on finding talent whose current skills match the role. We’ve started to see this take off on LinkedIn – as 40% of hirers now use skills data when hiring on LinkedIn, up 20% compared to a year prior.”
But organisations are woefully ill-equipped to shift to a skills-based system.
Business and HR leaders from more than 4,000 organisations surveyed for PWC’s 2021 Future of Work and Skills Survey said that one of the most significant challenges they faced in the workforce was identifying the skills workers will need in the future due to changing technology. They also indicated they were uncertain about the most effective way to deal with it.
“It’s imperative that businesses make investments in systems that inventory and maintain an inventory of current skills and that support visualisation of gaps in future skills,” the PWC report recommended.
Another report, Building the future-ready workforce, by Deloitte, said: “Only 17% of organisations believe they’re able to anticipate the skills they’ll require to any great extent, and only 16% expect to make significant investments in learning over the next three years. Combined, this lack of information and investment threatens to thwart organisations’ efforts to build the workforces they’ll need in both the short and long term.”
As business leaders across the globe consider whether they need to make a shift to a skills-based workplace, we have collected a few skills statistics to help you make an informed decision.
The list has links to the actual sources wherever available. Please go to the “Sources” section at the very end of the article to view all the sources.