Reskilling, upskilling and outskilling for a future-proof workforce



Reskilling, upskilling and outskilling for a future-proof workforce

Many learning and development teams have already realised that reskilling the workforce is essential, but that learning as we know it will not suffice.

THE World Economic Forum sounded an alarm in January 2020 by announcing: “The world is facing a reskilling emergency. We need to reskill more than 1 billion people by 2030.” The underlying message was that organisations, governments and society need to work together to ensure people around the world are not left behind.

This emergency didn’t come out of nowhere. Disruptors to the nature of work have been delivered by technology innovation, a growing demand for new competencies, changing employee expectations, shifting labour demographics and inclusion/diversity strategies, new workforce models, and the evolving business environment with all its regulatory changes. And more recently the COVID-19 pandemic, which is forcing a rethink on the role of Learning and Development (L&D) in organisations and how learning can be delivered in the more immediate term. Many chief learning officers and L&D teams have already realised that reskilling, upskilling and outskilling present the answer to these problems, but that learning as we know it will not suffice.

A learning transformation is needed – one that focuses on the connection between continuous re/up/outskilling, on the one hand, and actual work, on the other: They are two sides of the same coin. The challenge for L&D teams is to prepare for a superlearning future, centred on skills and capabilities at the individual, team and organisation levels; powered by data; and integrating ‘learning in the flow of work’ across functions and businesses. To make this transformation is to embark on a journey involving several well-calculated steps, and the only place to start is at the beginning. At the end is a ‘super’ workforce: resilient and adaptable to current and future disruptors.

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