Emerging technologies are transforming
the world of work, and businesses need to rethink their approach towards L&D
and employee reskilling. Here we explore the future skills highlighted in ‘2020
Workplace Learning Trends: The Skills of the Future’ report, and how to
future-proof your workforce.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping
how organizations do business, engage with clients and customers, and manage
their operations. According to Gartner’s
Hype Cycle 2019, data analytics and AI is expected to augment employees’ efficiency
over the next decade or so, with an increasing number of organizations
depending on emerging technologies to gain the desired competitive advantage.
The explosion of AI-enabled
technologies has left lasting effects on almost every industry. In finance
is already managing investment funds, while computers make up 35% of US’ stock
market. However, with such rapid changes happening around us, most
businesses are facing challenges in terms of keeping up with the technology
of business leaders feel AI is a (very) important aspect of human capital, while
of surveyed companies feel they are ready for the proliferation of such technologies.
AI, in particular, comes with the perquisite of big data. But, data alone is
not the problem. Today, organizations the world over have limitless amount of
data, which demands efficient management, processing and analysis, in order to
gain actionable insights from the AI tools and solutions leveraged by
organizations. In effect, AI calls for a data-driven culture, one that is
sustainable in the long term.
So, given such massive
technological disruptions, there is a pressing need for global businesses to
respond effectively and focus on the future skills and talent management. Let’s
explore how organizations can rethink workplace learning in the near future.
Rethinking L&D in 2020
Although AI has been popping in and
out of business solutions for the past few years, 2020 is the year AI really goes
big. Today, AI is being adopted in almost every aspect of the business,
including Sales (real-time product updates, seamless information sharing),
Marketing (customer behavior analysis, buying trends), HR (screenings,
interviews, recruitments) and Finance (number crunching, market predictions),
the list is endless.
Likewise, over the past few years,
there has been a clear shift in the demand for future skills, particularly for
AI and data science related skills. According to Udemy, demand
for AI and data science skills have seen rapid uptake among its learners over
past few years. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Neural Networks (the engine
behind AI) have revolutionized the world, and can be implemented in business
solutions across all industries.
So, based on the report ‘2020
Workplace Learning Trends: The Skills of the Future’, here are the hottest skills
L&D leaders need to look at in 2020-
Going into 2020,
there is a near similar trend in terms of skills demands, where there is a huge
uptake for skills like Python, machine
learning and deep learning, along with cloud computing, web
development frameworks and IT certifications like Docker (open source platform used to build software
packages); while some of the top emerging tech skills include quantum computing, internet things Gatsby.js, React Hooks, Next.js among
No surprise then
why L&D needs to prioritize these tech skills in 2020. When surveyed, 52%
L&D leaders cited tech skills as most important for training at their
organization in 2020. And, when asked about their top skills shortages, 43%
L&D leaders cited software development (Python, Java script), and 35%
cited AI, machine learning and neural networks and cloud computing.
underestimate the value of soft skills. However, analysis
of the top in-demand soft skills at work in 2020 revealed an uptake in
topics such as communication, creativity, and innovation and growth mindset. L&D
leaders need to be privy about the increasing importance of adopting a growth
mindset and fostering a culture of continuous learning and agility at the
skilling is critical, L&D leaders need to focus on building a learning
culture across the organization in order to foster creativity, agility and innovation,
as evidenced in the list
of in-demand soft skills in 2020, and top soft skill priorities for L&D
for 2020, including innovation (45%), change management (42%), communication
& storytelling (40%), among others.
Tackling Reskilling Challenges
L&D leaders need to be not only
aware of skills gaps but also start tackling reskilling challenges faced by
organizations today, with 39%
L&D leaders citing that existing jobs are constantly being transformed by
automation and AI technology.
The trend of letting go employees
and hiring newer (skilled) employees to address the skills gaps and achieve business
growth is slowly beginning to crumble, given today’s highly competitive labor
markets. Organizations are slowly realizing the fact that retraining and
reskilling a talented employee seems more promising than hiring from the
Agreed, reskilling calls for
strategic measures and long term investment, however, disruptive layoffs pose
more problems that they solve, and the best alternative remains employee training;
L&D leaders have already reskilled 20% of employees in 2019, with AT&T
retraining 180,000 employees for its Future Ready program. This program has
helped the company cut down on outside hire and reskilled employees to take up new
Employees, on the other hand, are
slowly settling into the disruptive nature of work tech, with more and more
employees viewing automation, AI and other disruptive technologies as a welcome
change and leverage the training programs offered by their organizations to
fulfill new roles. As a result, in light of the dire need for reskilling,
organizations are now prioritizing L&D investments, with 35%
L&D teams witnessing a rise in budgets in 2019.
Furthermore, L&D itself needs a
revamp to embrace agility and welcome newer roles like learning technology
managers, learning experience designers and social community managers in the
years to come.
With constant technological
disruptions and the emergence of a new digital world, L&D professionals need
to take inventory and asses their capabilities to reinvent the function itself
in order to future-proof the workforce with relevant skills. Organizations need
to engage newer techniques to retain, manage and develop talent (internally) to
help leaders find relevant skills for future projects. In the coming years,
L&D professionals will need to completely transform their approaches and
processes, including redefining the learning ecosystem, leveraging technologies
like AI and ML themselves to optimize the learner experience and achieve better
learning outcomes and maximize business impact.