Upskilling and Retraining in the Age of Automation


February 3, 2020

A certain buzzword has been making the rounds in the news lately: upskilling.

Forbes even recently suggested it might be the most important word you’ll be hearing a lot about these days.

With a third of today’s workers worried about being forced out by automation and digital transformation (according to professional services giant PwC), many are beginning to realize the need to learn new skills to keep up with the accelerating pace of change.

They are right to be worried. A recent McKinsey Global Institute report on workforce transitions amid automation says as many as 375 million workers—or 14% of the global workforce—may need to reinvent themselves professionally to adapt to the biggest industrial advancement the world has ever seen since the massive shift from agriculture to manufacturing in the early 1900s.

According to a recent article in QZ, upskilling programs have been launched at Amazon, AT&T, JPMorgan Chase, Walmart and others to help workers acquire the digital expertise they need to remain relevant in today’s increasingly automated world and AI-driven world. QZ even predicts “most Fortune 500 companies will have an upskilling program underway within a year to 18 months.”

The issue as a whole is a critical concern, particularly for advanced economies, as the Wall Street Journal has written. Their article quotes an MGI report that says there are “few precedents in which societies have successfully retrained such large numbers of people.” But while governments talk about the need to arm their populaces with the needed skills to support their economies, the urgency isn’t reflected in their spending.

So the task is falling on large businesses that realize the need not only to retrain workers with the goal of putting them to work elsewhere within their organizations, but even eventually to improve the global workforce at large. This probably wasn’t what the chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture was thinking about when he told the Journal, “Executives have this idea that ‘as my people become obsolete, I’ll just hire new people. Well, they won’t be there.” But the fact remains, organizations need skilled workers and ultimately must contribute to the task of training them to ensure there is always a healthy pool of resources to draw from.

Until then, as organizations race to retrain their workers, such upskilling programs will be core to what keeps a company competitive. Ensuring that the virtual training and eLearning sessions that support such programs are secure and reliable will be key.

Ready to take the next step? Contact Coso Cloud to learn more about how CoSo secures online meetings and virtual classrooms to protect sensitive data while ensuring high availability and compliance today!

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