September 9, 2019
As many as 120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies may need to be retrained or reskilled over the next three years as a result of the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, according to a new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study. It also suggests that only 41 percent of CEOs surveyed say that they have the people, skills and resources required to execute their business strategies.
The study, which includes input from more than 5,670 global executives in 48 countries, points to compounding challenges that require a fundamental shift in how companies meet and manage changing workforce needs throughout all levels of the enterprise.
According to the research, the time it takes to close a skills gap through training has increased by more than 10 times in just four years. In 2014, it took three days on average to close a capability gap through training in the enterprise; in 2018, it took 36 days.
Rapidly emerging skills
The study claims that new skills requirements are rapidly emerging, while other skills are becoming obsolete. In 2016, executives ranked technical core capabilities for STEM and basic computer and software/application skills as the top two most critical skills for employees. In 2018, the top two skills sought were behavioural skills — willingness to be flexible, agile, and adaptable to change and time management skills and ability to prioritise.
While executives recognise the severity of the problem, half admit that they do not have any skills development strategies in place to address their largest gaps
“Organisations are facing mounting concerns over the widening skills gap and tightened labour markets with the potential to impact their futures as well as worldwide economies,” said Amy Wright, Managing Partner, IBM Talent & Transformation, IBM.
“Yet while executives recognise the severity of the problem, half of those surveyed admit that they do not have any skills development strategies in place to address their largest gaps. And the tactics the study found were most likely to close the skills gap the fastest are the tactics companies are using the least. New strategies are emerging to help companies reskill their people and build the culture of continuous learning required to succeed in the era of AI.”
The IBV study, The Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap claims to lay out the step-by-step strategies for businesses to better foster talent and close the skills gap as AI transforms the jobs market.
The core recommendation is to take a holistic approach to closing the skills gap that is focused on reskilling our workforce through development that’s multi-modal, personalised to the individual and built on data. This means creating ‘educational journeys’ for employees that are personalised to their current experience level, skills, job role and career aspirations.