Future-proofing skills in the technology industry
The technology sector is the force behind a fourth industrial revolution and is valued in the trillions of dollars. New tech is transforming businesses and lives. Yet for all the attention paid to revolutionary software and hardware, it is people who are driving the technology industry. And the biggest challenge for businesses is how to train and equip employees to keep pace with change.
Human intelligence matters
Automation, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence make the headlines daily. According to some these technological advances will make people redundant and even pose an existential threat to humankind. The truth is less dramatic and more nuanced. While automation and AI will produce many efficiencies – which include making some roles and people redundant – they will also, by transforming business activities, create the need for new roles and new categories of knowledge workers. The challenge is to find and train these people and equip them to respond to present and future developments. This may mean up and re-skilling entire workforces.
But whether it’s on an organization-wide or individual level, training must be sustainable. Skills in the tech sector not only have to be transferable, but they also need to be future-proof.
Technology is facing a skills shortage
A major skills shortage is happening just at a time when the demand for highly trained tech professionals is growing. A recent survey of 8,000 businesses in the US revealed that 93% of employers reported a skills gap in IT specialists. This gap is affecting areas like cybersecurity, productivity, competitiveness, and customer service. A recent Korn Ferry report on the future of work estimates that by 2030 there will be a talent shortage globally of 85 million people – many of these in tech businesses. So, while the media is reporting employee layoffs in large corporations, other tech players are looking for talent.
Lack of opportunities affects employee retention
The skills shortage in the tech market focuses attention on the need to retain, retrain, and recruit skilled employees. To start addressing the skills shortage it’s worth analyzing the reasons why people quit or don’t join. A major factor, aside from an attractive remuneration package, is a lack of career development. Yet in the technology sector, it is precisely the need to develop employees which is holding companies back. It seems self-evident then for tech companies to invest in training programs that maximize employee performance and potential. And it makes sense to use advances in technology to enhance and expand learning opportunities.
Upskilling can retain and develop talent
A key measure of success is a technology business’s ability to develop talent. This will require continuous training in specialist areas to upskill people as the technology and business requirements change. As technology advances swiftly training programs need to be flexible and adaptable to respond in an agile way to new tech tools and practices.
It’s also important to build resilience and responsiveness in tech employees themselves. Core, foundational skills provide a solid basis for ongoing learning and development. These include communications, leadership, data analytics, and general problem-solving skills. Employees need to learn the benefits of teamwork and interpersonal connections and be able to show initiative and take responsibility.
A learning culture sustains knowledge
Highly qualified employees recognize knowledge as an asset and the benefits of sharing it. It falls to organizations to create a culture and practice of continuous learning so that knowledge and people are valued and their experience and expertise are successfully retained and utilized. A climate of learning positions people for the tasks and roles of the future.
Online learning helps close the skills gap
Applying new tech to training provides the flexibility and adaptability to keep information and knowledge up to date and enable a business to take full advantage of future technological trends. Elearning modules cover foundation skills and can be easily customized and updated to meet business objectives. Micro-learning in bite-sized chunks enables organizations to quickly provide accessible new content. Learning platforms deliver standardized, quality-controlled training 24/7 and just in time.
Learning analytics provides intelligent data to identify skills gaps that digital learning can then address. AI-driven recommender systems automatically suggest new learning content, send reminders for repeat training, and notify learners of the need to update their knowledge.
Learning platforms feature social learning applications to allow collaborative work and active knowledge sharing. User-generated content can be posted to the platform and then curated to continuously build an extensive digitized knowledge base.
Intelligent data prepares us for the future
Technology generates data, Big Data. It also provides the tools to analyze and employ that data to identify market trends and the skills required to develop new business opportunities. In turn, that information can be used to deliver the right kind of training and develop the knowledge workers of today and the future. Investing in opportunities to grow the knowledge base and be at the forefront of change creates a virtuous circle, empowering employees and businesses alike. Preparing people for the work of the future makes it more likely they will stay for the ride.
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