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A pivotal point: the future of workforce development

PUBLISHED: 26/02/2021

As we emerge from the pandemic, assess its fallout in the workplace and look to recovery, business leaders are going to nd themselves facing a dire talent and skills shortage. We knew this when Covid rst struck: chief executives then saw such a shortage as one of their biggest business threats. The chances now are that it is becoming an even bigger threat, particularly in new digital areas, as this report shows. And it is arriving as budgets tighten like never before.

The clear need is to focus intensely on reskilling and upskilling. It is cheaper to develop than to hire. The wisdom of this approach is borne out by the 2021 L&D Global Sentiment Survey, now in its eighth year and published at the start of February. For 3,114 L&D voters from 95 countries, the answer to “What will be hot in L&D in 2021?” was a clear and unequivocal “Reskilling/ upskilling”.

Yet despite knowing the value of and the need for reskilling and upskilling, for developing the existing workforce rather than looking for new talent from outside, many businesses are not putting it into practice with anything like the commitment that’s needed. “Training” is still siloed, it is often about box ticking content rather than true integrated performance development and skills gap identi cation is poor.

On the one hand, this means that many businesses need to move mountains if they’re to overcome the shortages they can expect. That requires signi cant internal change and also replacing some of their large, unresponsive learning management providers with new, more agile players.

On the other hand, it means that for such agile new providers there is a market that is wide open for development with opportunities at great scale.

Based on extensive research, this report explores the key trends, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for learning and development practitioners, organisations, policymakers and founders. Workforce development is ripe for evolution. This report gives vital insights into the form that evolution can take, with actionable recommendations for business, policy, L&D leaders and founders.

Read the full report from emerge Education & Future Learn here.

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