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Decoding global trends in upskilling and reskilling

By Wilhelm Crous

The Boston Consulting Group and the international online recruitment company, The Network, recently conducted the biggest global survey of labour trends and work preferences (covering 366,000 people in 197 countries!).

Two megatrends were explored: Technology changes and globalisation, as well as two possible reactions to them. One was people's willingness to adopt new skills for their current positions, in other words upskilling, and the other was their willingness to pick up new skills for a completely different job, commonly known as reskilling

The survey found that across the globe, people are more aware of changing ways of working. In addition, 61% of respondents believed their current positions will be greatly affected by technology change or globalisation. More than 65% of South African respondents were of the same opinion.

It’s interesting to note, though, that digital experts (those with advanced or high-level digital skills) believed they’re more likely than the average (73%) to be affected by these two two megatrends. More South Africans believe their jobs will be affected by technological changes (54%) than the impact of globalisation (51%).

One positive outcome of the study was South Africa was classified overall as a Proactive Adopter. This means respondents spend a significant time on learning in reaction to the two megatrends (i.e. technology changes and globalisation). South African also considered the following top five competencies important for the future: Communication skills, leadership, analytical skills, complex problem solving and adaptability.

BCG recommends companies should prepare for the impact of these two megatrends in the following ways:

  1. Creating a strategic workforce plan and complement it with strategic skills mapping.

  2. Launching a targeted upskilling programmes and offer new ways of learning.

  3. Establishing an enterprise-wide upskilling culture.

  4. Extending upskilling efforts to the wider society.

Individuals also have a responsibility to prepare themselves for the future, and can do so by:

  1. Having a plan. Strategic plans work for people as well as they do for companies and governments. Everyone who works should have a career plan that maps out the type of work they want to do along with the skills they need in order to remain competitive in the marketplace.

  2. Making continuous learning a habit.

  3. Adopting a lifelong learning mindset.

You can access a comprehensive analysis of the findings – here, or alternatively download a copy of the full report – here.

KR will be hosting two L&D events in 2020 that will help L&D departments prepare their organisations for the future:

And if you haven’t already signed up to join our Learning & Development Community in 2020 – make sure you do so before the end of the year. Being part of South Africa’s largest L&D network will help you stay relevant with the latest trends and developments in L&D.

Plus, as a community member, you’ll automatically qualify for a 20% discount on KR events and books. You can activate your membership here.

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