It has been more than a year since the outbreak of COVID-19 and much has changed. Drones, AI and automation have been mobilized and took up human tasks during lockdowns, technologies have played a vital role in keeping economies and society running during the pandemic. Automation and technological advancement are speeding up, whether people are prepared or not. The sooner employers and the workforce realize and accept there is a need for reskilling and upskilling, the better they will be prepared for the big change we do not know what it will be yet.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimated that by 2025, automation may displace 85 million jobs through a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines. The WEF has also labelled this upcoming period as the “Reskilling Revolution” and estimated that 97 million new roles may emerge to address the shift in this same period1. Online learning and training are also on the rise, there has been a four-fold increase in the numbers of individuals seeking out opportunities for learning online2.
During the pandemic, virtual learning increased from 31% of total hours in FY193 to 55% in FY20 as EY people developed their skills while working from home. In FY20, EY invested over US$450 million in formal learning for its people globally.
Agnes Chan, Managing Partner, Hong Kong and Macau, EY says, “We care about how our people will fare in the future of work. That is why at EY, we have EY Badges – an array of online programs which our people earn digital credentials in future-focused skills. It is encouraging that more than 4,500 EY Badges were awarded to our Greater China people4; and 100,000 to EY people globally5. Learning covers a wide range of subject areas from AI to robotic process automation, blockchain, and so on. It not only nurtures a culture of curiosity and self-growth among our people but also helps retain talent when our people know EY invests in them and wants them to be successful.”
On top of that, in July 2020, EY launched the first-ever fully accredited corporate MBA, EY Tech MBA, in collaboration with Hult International Business School. It is available regardless of role or position and entirely for free to all 300,000-plus EY employees in over 150 countries and regions.
On average, organizations estimated that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less; and 94% of business leaders expected employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp increase from 65% in 2018. The accelerated pace of technological advancement rendered organizations having skills shortage they did not even know they needed five years ago6.
With roles changing, it will be too expensive, time consuming and unrealistic for employers to keep hiring new employees with every new skill required. It is more pressing now than ever for C-suite executives to start acknowledging and identifying the skills gap among their employees, and developing innovative learning programs to reskill their employees which will equip their businesses for the future.