The World Economic Forum tells us that we need a reskilling revolution. Two years ago, the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report claimed that five million jobs were expected to be displaced by 2022 in 20 major economies.
While this was only a forecast, without doubt some jobs will disappear – and other jobs will be created.
As these jobs vanish, what are organizations doing to upskill for the future? And, importantly, how can those currently in the workforce move into a new career area if needed?
In this short video, Matthew Griffin, the Fanatical Futurist, shares his thinking on the two fallacies at play regarding reskilling.
1. The Learning Platforms We Have Shine a Spotlight on Up-and-Coming Skills – and Will Help to Prepare Us
We believe that help is at hand from learning platforms and content developers. They track the requirements for talent in specific areas and how these requirements will change over time. Such systems then kick into action, creating the training courses needed to develop in these areas. It should mean that new knowledge, skills and expertise is available as organizations need it.
At least, that is the plan. However, something is amiss.
As an example, for years, commentators have predicted the need for data scientists - and yet there remains a shortage. The learning available is not the learning needed.
2. We Need 10,000 Hours to Achieve Expertise in a Job
It used to be said that to achieve an ‘expert’ level in any area, you needed to spend 10,000 hours learning and doing. This meant that employees could not simply move into a new career area without five or six years’ worth of experience.
However, do we need only ‘experts’?
In reality, getting a solid grounding in a job area may only take 20 hours. You may need to understand a profit and loss sheet, but you don’t need to be an accountant. In other words, you don’t need that level of expertise. Performance in a job is not solely dependent on the depth and knowledge of your skills.
It is about competencies and behaviors.
If job performance can remain high (even if skill and knowledge levels have not reached the level of expertise), it means that something more than knowledge is needed - behavioral competencies.
For many years, competencies have been the bedrock of professional hiring practices. Aon has taken them further to look for the competencies of the future.
Our research into the competencies needed for the unpredictable future of work, in which jobs not yet even realised will become essential, led to a model of future, digital-ready competencies. The core factors are learnability, agility and curiosity. Together they underpin those behaviors needed to seek continual self-improvement, to be flexible and adapt to changing situations and to have the curiosity and openness to change what is needed.
Changing Employers’ Attitudes
What are the implications if we make this brave move away from the need for all of us to be experts in our jobs, to have had previous experience – and to embrace those who have a core job understanding and also those competencies needed for a specific role?
One fundamental change that needs to take place is the societal contract.
That is, stepping up and no longer rejecting a candidate due to lack of job-specific experience. Only then will we be able to open up the job of the future to those with the best fit competencies.
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