Digital transformation has created opportunities and challenges for corporate leaders. Ways of doing business have changed dramatically. Today, consumers want to engage and transact with brands digitally, which has led to massive investment in technology. Yet the workforce’s skills have not kept up at the same pace, leaving businesses playing catch up as they race to hire the right talent to meet consumers’ demand for modern experiences.
According to Statista, global investment in digital transformation is expected to nearly double from $1.8 trillion in 2022 to $2.8 trillion in 2025, which will only serve to widen this skills gap. As companies continue to struggle to find the right technical talent from external sources, they are increasingly turning to upskilling their existing workforces to fill needed roles.
What is upskilling?
Upskilling is when an employee learns new skills that enable them to advance in their career. For example, an individual contributor might learn data skills so they can be promoted into a management role. Upskilling shouldn’t be confused with reskilling, in which an employee learns new skills that enable them to transition into an entirely different role.
A successful talent development strategy is critical for businesses to remain competitive and bridge the skills gaps within their workforces. Today, the rapid pace of technology development and digital transformation has forced companies to be more nimble and creative with talent development. Gone are the days where learning and development consisted primarily of soft skills training, like people management and conflict resolution. Today, talent development teams must also ensure their workforce has the skills needed to compete in the digital economy.
In the US alone, corporations spend nearly $180 billion annually on formal training programs. Yet, somehow, businesses still face a global talent shortage. Talent development programs can help address this by unleashing the full potential of a company’s existing workforce.
This isn’t something businesses can think about in a silo. According to IBM, 120 million workers in the world’s largest economies may need to be retrained due to automation. If companies don’t plan for the future with innovative approaches to talent development, mass displacement of workers could occur—with serious economic ramifications.
Despite budget cutbacks and headlines warning of Big Tech’s hiring slowdown, overall employer demand for technical skills is still on the rise and projected to grow, with job postings across technical sectors still twice as high than any other fields.
But many workers are struggling to access the opportunities that put these in-demand jobs within reach. COVID-19 has driven the skills gap even wider, with nearly six in 10 U.S. workers expressing that a lack of skills prevented them from applying for a job they wanted in the last two years and countless employers complaining of a labor shortage. Automation and digitization are accelerating, and millions of low wage workers are at risk for displacement.
Resolving the global training deficit is a massive and complex undertaking – and while significant, meaningful work is underway, it cannot be accomplished without wide-scale public and private sector collaboration. As rising inflation wears away personal disposable income, and the college debt crisis reaches new heights, it’s clear the onus cannot be on individual workers to bankroll solutions. Instead, for an industry known for cutting edge innovation, a tried and true model is emerging as an effective tool: apprenticeships.
When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), top global businesses are struggling to bridge the gap between aspirations and actions. They know building a truly inclusive work culture is essential when it comes to social expectations, political trends, and board and shareholder demands. But business leaders also understand the direct correlation between a strong DEI program and attracting–to retain–top diverse talent. So, many businesses have stated their goals and started working toward them. They have established employee resource groups. They have appointed an array of DEI executives. They have made public pledges to elevate diverse employees to the C-Suite level. They have set a timeline for building a more diverse workforce. In short, they have taken the first–and very necessary–steps.
While society is committed to advancing DEI in the workplace, logic and statistics show there is still much work to do–from ensuring better diverse representation to more equitable compensation. Only 4% of companies employ a female chair and a meager 3.2% of executive or senior-level managers at Fortune 500 companies are Black. When you dig into pay disparities, the statistics are even more disconcerting. For every dollar a white male employee makes, Black employees make 62 cents, and Latina employees just 54 cents. The facts, while stark, are hardly surprising. Businesses have been talking about building a more diverse workforce for years, but–for the most part–they have been stuck in neutral, spinning their well-intentioned wheels.
Recruiting is no different. In this post, we’ll discuss how leaders can take a fresh approach to talent to fill their open headcount with skilled and loyal new talent.
Competition for Talent is Fierce. And broken.
The world of work has evolved dramatically in recent years, but recruiting practices have not kept up. As resignations outpace hiring, leaders continue to scratch their heads, wondering why they can’t fill their open roles. The answer is simple: they insist on fighting over a pool of talent that is too small.
Marketing is moving at a blistering pace. In the past two decades, digital technologies have supercharged the industry’s evolution and propelled it into a moment as rife with challenges as it is with opportunity.
Today, businesses and marketers are in a never-ending race to catch up with a flood of new channels and a growing set of tools. All while fielding a crowded market and swaying consumer needs. The dizzying pace of change in an industry that’s becoming increasingly digitized and data-driven is swelling skills gaps and leaving many on the verge of falling behind.
The good news? Change is not new to marketing. It’s what defines it. Marketing’s evolution can be chronicled through disruptions and innovations. And marketers have long thrived on their ability to adapt on the fly and leverage new mediums, trends, and technologies to move forward and push the envelope.
If we’ve learned anything from the “Great Resignation,” it’s that today’s workforce is fed up with the status quo. Beyond the ongoing flexibility debate over work-from-anywhere or work-from-the-office, today’s talent is laser-focused on diversity. Motivated by purpose alongside (and perhaps even more so than) money, today’s tech talent is tired of companies who say that diversity and inclusion, work-life balance, and empowering team cultures are important to them. They want to see the specific and tangible benchmarks in place to measure a company’s DEI progress.
If businesses want to attract more diverse junior tech talent, they need to move beyond talking the diversity talk, to walking the inclusion walk. The good news? Building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce isn’t only good for a company’s reputation, it’s good for a company’s bottom line. In a recent McKinsey study, one-third of companies that improved DEI efforts over the past five years are now financially outperforming their industry peers.
Considering that the US Labor Department reported in March that there were 2 positions open for every employee, diversifying the workforce isn’t only vital at the recruitment level of talent management, but crucial for employee retention overall. One of the top reasons employees have cited for leaving their jobs is a company’s failure to fulfill promises to improve DEI efforts. There’s a veritable chasm between employer perception and employee reality when it comes to cultivating workplace culture. Just look at the Accenture study which found that while 68% of leaders felt they created an empowering team culture, only 36% of employees agreed with them.
We’re at a turning point in our world—and in talent. Employers are struggling to fill roles across sectors, and the talent shortage will only continue as the economy becomes increasingly digital. The pandemic has accelerated the need for digital skills and normalized remote work. Meanwhile, the Great Resignation is underway, workers are seeking opportunities that better support their lifestyles, and workforce diversity and inclusion objectives are critical.
How can companies evolve their talent strategies to adapt to these circumstances?
Community reskilling is one powerful option for tackling these challenges head-on. These initiatives involve companies forming public-private partnerships to source, train, and hire non-traditional candidates from underserved communities—often with the help of a reskilling partner like General Assembly. We just launched an in-depth whitepaper on the topic—download it here.
With the Great Resignation, there’s a new power dynamic in town. Employees are re-prioritizing, looking to new careers and internal mobility to help them grow and find meaning. As you get used to this new landscape, there are many benefits to be received — not only for workers, but for the companies they serve.
In our last post we talked about how leaders should rethink their approach to the Great Resignation. In this post, we’ll discuss how leaders can build positive cultures while everyone is quitting. We sat down with culture expert,Bob Gower, who has spent the bulk of his career working with leaders to create effective teams, to get his advice on building cultures that survive the wave of resignations.
The cultural causes of the Great Resignation
To understand the Great Resignation, leaders need to get to the heart of why employees are quitting. The COVID-19 pandemic reminded employees that they have a choice in where they work and how they spend their time.
“The power has often been in the hands of management or of companies,” Gower explained. “The Great Resignation is both people reevaluating themselves and taking power over their lives.”