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Reskilling, Upskilling, and Beyond: Learning and Development in Focus

Reskilling, Upskilling, and Beyond- Learning and Development in Focus

In a world where careers are shaped by change and innovation, one question echoes loud: “What’s next?” Reskill, upskill, and adapt! The rapid evolution of technology and the constant reshaping of business landscapes demand a new set of skills, a fresh perspective, and a proactive approach to career development. 

World Economic Forum predicts that six in ten employees will require further skills training, but many will lack access to the resources they need. The divide between those who have and those who lack specialist skills is a growing problem, increasing the risk of economic inequality.

By delving into the insights provided by the WEF’s “Future of Jobs Survey 2023,” we aim to uncover the skills and strategies that are set to define success in the future of work. We’re here to embark on a journey of discovery, exploring the priorities in reskilling and upskilling for the next five years.

The Changing Landscape

The workplace of tomorrow will be vastly different from what we see today. A significant shift is happening in the skills and competencies that employers value most. The Future of Jobs Report 2023 highlights the importance of behavioral skills such as resilience, flexibility, and motivation, as well as empathy, active listening, and leadership for teamwork. 

Several other skills are also gaining momentum. These include analytical thinking, creative thinking, AI and big data, leadership, and social influence. According to the report, the second priority for workforce development is to promote creative thinking, which will be the subject of 8% of upskilling initiatives.

The report estimates that by 2025, 50% of all employees will need reskilling due to adopting new technology, and over two-thirds of skills considered important in today’s job requirements will change.  Explore our list of the top 15 must-have skills for 2024 curated based on the WEF’s report here.

Coursera Research for WEF Report

Surprising Emphasis: AI and Big Data

AI and big data stand out as skills that companies prioritize significantly more than their current importance suggests. It’s not surprising that in an age where technology drives innovation, AI and big data are top priorities. They’re the engines behind automation and data-driven decision-making. 

AI and Big Data’s Future in Numbers

  1. Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to be adopted by nearly 75% of surveyed companies and is expected to lead to high churn – with 50% of organizations expecting it to create job growth and 25% expecting it to create job losses.
  2. Training workers to utilize AI and big data ranks third among company skills-training priorities in the next five years and will be prioritized by 42% of surveyed companies.
  3. Companies rank AI and big data 12 places higher in their skills strategies than in their evaluation of core skills, and report that they will invest an estimated 9% of their reskilling efforts in it – a greater proportion than the more highly-ranked creative thinking, indicating that AI and big data are becoming increasingly important.
  4. The Future of Jobs Report 2023 predicts that 42% of business tasks will be automated by 2027, with 65% of information and data processing tasks expected to be automated.

Reskilling and Upskilling in Leadership and Social Influence

Leadership and social influence are also getting a boost. Companies rank this skill five places higher than its current importance. In a world where teamwork, networking, adaptability, and effective communication are paramount, these skills take on a new level of significance.

Key Statistics for the Next 5 Years

  1. Leadership and social influence ranks 5 places higher than suggested by its current importance and is the highest-ranked attitude.
  2. Upskilling workers in leadership is reported to be a particular priority in the Automotive and Aerospace as well as Infrastructure industries. Here it appears in more than 60% of five-year strategies. It is also the top priority across all skills in both the Supply Chain and Transportation and Advanced Manufacturing industries.
  3. A key strategic priority for businesses from 2023 to 2027 will be leadership and social influence. This ranks far higher in company skills strategies than as a core skill for workers in 2023.
  4. 40% of surveyed companies report that their strategies will focus on leadership, corresponding to an 8% share of skills strategies on average.
Kenneth-Blanchard-Quote- Leadership

New Players: Design, Environment, and Cybersecurity

In addition to the expected skills, there are some surprises. Companies are emphasizing design and user experience nine places higher than current importance. Environmental stewardship, marketing, and media, as well as networks and cybersecurity, are getting more attention than you might expect. These skills are seen as essential for navigating an increasingly digital, connected, and eco-conscious world.

Geopolitical Flux and the Demands on Cyber Leaders

One of the most pressing issues highlighted in the report is the world’s growing fragmentation and unpredictability. Geopolitical instability, coupled with the swift maturation of emerging technologies, is creating an environment fraught with uncertainties. This unpredictability is exacerbated by a shortage of available cybersecurity talent and the mounting expectations from both shareholders and regulatory bodies, all of which pose significant challenges for cyber and business leaders.

Predictions for Design, Environment, and Cybersecurity

  1. The World Economic Forum’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2023, in collaboration with Accenture, examines the cybersecurity trends that will impact our economies and societies in the year to come.
  2. The report reveals concerns about an increasingly fragmented and unpredictable world. Geopolitical instability, rapidly maturing and emerging technologies, lack of available talent, and increasing shareholder and regulatory expectations representing are some of the significant challenges that concern cyber and business leaders.
  3. The report suggests that cyber executives are now more likely to see data privacy laws and cybersecurity regulations as an effective tool for reducing cyber risks across a sector.
  4. According to the report, 86% of business leaders and 93% of cyber leaders believe that global geopolitical instability is likely to lead to a cyberattack.

Shifting Reskilling and Upskilling Trends in Self-Efficacy and Technology Skills

Self-efficacy and technology skills are also going through changes. Self-efficacy skills are currently highly valued, but the disruptions of recent years will cause a relative de-emphasis from 2023 to 2027. On the other hand, technology skills, particularly AI and big data, will receive greater attention, highlighting the industry’s need for digital transformation.

Self-efficacy skills, including being resilient, flexible, and agile, being motivated and self-aware, and curious and committed to lifelong learning, are among the top five most in-demand job skills right now.The Future of Jobs Report 2023 predicts that self-efficacy skills will rank above working with others in the rate of increase in importance of skills reported by businesses.

The report suggests that the socio-emotional attitudes which businesses consider to be growing in importance most quickly are curiosity and lifelong learning, resilience, flexibility and agility, and motivation and self-awareness.


Individual Choices vs. Business Priorities

A fascinating aspect is the mismatch between individual learners and business priorities. Individuals are focusing on technical skills, such as programming, resource management, and operations, and design and user experience. However, emerging technologies, such as AI, are reshaping workforce demands. Employers are placing greater emphasis on “soft” skills like empathy and active listening, which resist automation. 

The WEF Report finds that 23% of jobs are expected to change in the next five years. This change is driven by industry transformation caused by increased adoption of technology, the green transition, and macroeconomic conditions.

Other skills that are strategically emphasized by businesses are design and user experience (9 places higher), environmental stewardship (10 places higher), marketing and media (6 places higher), and networks and cybersecurity (5 places higher).


Final Thoughts

The future of work is exciting yet challenging. Reskilling and upskilling are more than buzzwords; they are essential strategies for professionals and business leaders alike. The world demands not just professionals but perpetual learners, not just employees but pioneers of their own growth. In this landscape of change, learning isn’t a phase; it’s a mindset. The bridge to tomorrow isn’t built on what we know today; it’s constructed on our willingness to learn, unlearn, and relearn. As we step into the future, let’s remember: the most powerful skill isn’t the one on our resume; it’s our ability to embrace the unknown with a curious mind and an open heart. So, in the grand saga of reskilling, upskilling, and beyond, the question isn’t just “What do we learn?” but rather “How limitless can our quest for knowledge be?”

Apurba Sen

Apurba Sen is a content marketer with a penchant for storytelling and a love for reading. Armed with a degree in marketing, Apurba creates content that captivates and inspires. When she’s not working, you’ll find her with a book in hand, lost in a world of adventure and possibility.

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8th Floor, Montepino Building, 138 Amorsolo corner Gamboa St., Legaspi Village Makati City


390 Hoang Van Thu Street, Ward 4, Tan Binh District, HCMC, Vietnam


No.9, Desika Road, Mylapore, Chennai, India – 600004


8 Burn Road, #07-14 TRIVEX Singapore 369977

Email us at [email protected]

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