In today’s world, the idea that ‘people are our most important asset’ is truer than ever. As more and more job tasks become automated, we increasingly find ourselves asking some important questions: What jobs will exist (entirely new professions or simply modifications of existing ones) for humans in the future? Which skills will we need to support them? And how should we equip ourselves for the future? Jobs of the future will be defined by the new tools of the trade (i.e., AI, AR/VR, big data, IoT), which will have a significant impact on work in the next five years. In case you are wondering what these jobs will be, have a look at our recent report, 21 More Jobs of the Future, to get some food for thought.
We know new jobs are coming, so have we adequately prepared employees and post-secondary students for the jobs that will exist in the future? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is ‘no’. Our education systems have been slow to adapt to our new reality, which has created a disconnect between the ‘talent produced’ and ‘talent needed.’ Our traditional educational and career pathways aren’t designed to develop skills for a fast-changing market or to match the speed of changing industry requirements. Our higher education institutions act more as knowledge providers rather than skill providers, and as a result, most corporate learning strategies have roots in traditional learning approaches. While these types of strategies were good for the industrial age, they are not effective enough for the new machine age; thus, many companies are failing to effectively prepare their workforce to work in tandem with AI-driven machines. As a result, talent scarcity continues to be a prominent challenge in the market today.
In order to create a solution to talent scarcity, we need to stop blaming the talent pipeline and start creating it by rethinking learning and giving our education systems and corporate training approaches a major makeover. In order to help facilitate these changes, we’ve developed a future of learning equation that aids entities in fundamentally redesigning their learning processes and structures by responding to the changes needed to equip people for the work ahead. Bringing these practices to scale will require businesses and higher education institutions to perform the following steps:
- Identify the skills required for future jobs—skills have become like mobile apps that need frequent upgrades.
- Curate flexible and adaptive learning content that is updated continuously to allow learners to rapidly acquire new skills.
- Embrace new forms of teaching and training such as instructor-led, AI-driven and AR/VR-adapted, to increase learning effectiveness.
At the heart of the future of learning are the compressed timeframes in which the workforce needs to be continuously skilled and reskilled, content needs to be curated, and training needs to occur. The speed at which these elements are executed will determine how effectively businesses navigate the rocky path of ensuring the workforce is fit for the future of work. Ultimately, in order for the future of learning to function effectively, it must be supported by self-learning initiatives. No matter how great your technology and teaching approaches are, learning won’t happen unless people are motivated to learn. In order to get there, business leaders need to create a culture of learning in which individuals are self-motivated and curious. They must encourage people to experiment, take risks, and learn from new ideas and technologies, a concept that is still not strong in many businesses.
Humans are infinitely capable of innovation. If we can redesign a chair in thousands of ways, we are more than capable of innovating new ways to prepare for the future of work. Unfortunately, today’s digital economy will not wait for those who are unprepared to identify and capture the opportunities of tomorrow. As a result, our future of learning framework provides a starting point for understanding what every individual requires in order to be successful in the career paths that lie ahead. Learning methods and approaches will evolve more in the next five years than they did in the previous 20—a thought that can be overwhelming at times. However, with the right combination of skills, curated content, and training we will ready and waiting for the future of work to strike.