Whether you are a business leader, an educator, a student, or an employee, your work will be very different in the future. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) continue to take over not just routine, repetitive, and low-end tasks, but also highly-skilled, white-collar work, eventually some skills and capabilities will become irrelevant, and those who are unable to keep up will be left behind. While automation will eliminate some jobs, many more will be created or changed in the process. Whether these changes proceed rapidly or at a moderate pace, many employees will need to adapt to changing work tasks or switch to new occupations entirely, while many students will need to point themselves in multiple career directions in order to be successful in the new world of work.
Unfortunately, preparing the current and future workforce for the future of work can’t be done using today’s decade-old training and education models. Traditional educational and career pathways aren’t designed to develop skills for a fast-changing market and can’t match the speed of changing industry requirements. By choosing not to jettison these traditional training and education models that are no longer (or soon won’t be) fit for purpose, companies and higher education institutions are undermining their ability to invest their budget, time, resources, and energy in the future.
Ultimately, the future of work will depend on the choices you make today for preparing (or not preparing) the current and future workforce. Here are 19 choices for you to consider:
- Maintain the status quo or challenge it?
- A reactive or proactive approach in preparing people for new and enhanced jobs of the future?
- Prepare people to work with humans or prepare them to work alongside machines?
- Encourage the skills of today (e.g. hard skills) or the skills of the future (e.g. soft skills, ethics)?
- Use inflexible, sluggish, inefficient IT infrastructure or an agile, flexible, and quickly scalable technological foundation?
- Question leaders’ and educators’ abilities to understand and train people on the skills required for the future of work or believe leaders and educators are the catalyst of change?
- Foster a culture of training and teaching by maintaining traditional teaching methods (e.g., face to face training) or adopt new ways of teaching (e.g., AI-driven and AR/VR adapted) to foster a culture of learning?
- Create content and curriculum on an ad-hoc basis or update content on a continuous basis and encourage content curation?
- Require more than badges and certifications for hiring or consider badges and certifications over degrees?
- Use textbooks and traditional training material or Netflix-style content consumption?
- Replace trainers and educators with artificial intelligence or guide them to become better and more effective?
- Encourage a traditional classroom or traditional classroom blended with the world outside of it?
- Make self-learning an option or a priority?
- Offer one-to-many or one-to-one teaching and learning (personalized) environments?
- Believe innovation takes time or believe innovation is a key marker to measure the effectiveness of learning programs?
- Encourage course- and competency-based learning or knowledge-based and lifelong learning?
- Focus on “what to learn” or “how to learn”?
- Believe workforce needs are based on gut feelings and experience or based on real-time data (labor data, market data, job listings, etc.)?
- Limit collaboration with external stakeholders or become a collaborative entity leading with examples?
Luckily, our new report, Relearning How We Learn—From the Campus to the Workplace, can help you make wise choices from the list above. In the face of the unknown future, businesses and higher education institutions will need to engage in more flexible partnerships, quicker responses, different modes of delivery and new, combined-skill programs to reliably prepare people for what comes next. With this in mind, now is the time for educators and business leaders to rethink their workforce learning models and renew their relationship with the future of work.