In the recent past, people would leave a college or university after getting a bachelor's or master's degree, and then, they were likely to enter a job and stay in the same job until retirement. However, the sad fact is, life is no longer that easy in the era of constant technological disruptions brought about by emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation.  

Many studies reveal that companies are not considering students with a college/university degree as "employable", regardless of the pedigree of the educational institution. This is because our traditional education system is not evolving to embrace the technological transformations occurring in today's digital environment. Hence, they are failing to fill new positions, which is creating a talent shortage. It is hard to believe that even the second-most valuable company in the world, Amazon, currently has 20,000 vacancies.  

Reports also suggest that people who joined technology companies a decade ago, as entry-level developers, are struggling to cope with the new technologies needed to meet the demands of ever-changing business dynamics. While balancing life and work, they never had the opportunity to upskill or reskill to match the goals of the companies for which they work. This stagnation in the development of new skills is leading to job loss and unemployment.  

This article explores use cases of how companies worldwide are changing the way they upskill their employees in the wake of the changing nature of jobs, capability requirements and business demands. It takes a look at new learning techniques and provides upskilling tips that have proven to help shorten the learning curve and climb up the career ladder, fast.

Global Tech Giant Believes That Continuous Upskilling Is the Answer to Disruption-Oriented Job Losses

In July 2019, Amazon announced that the company plans to invest £569 million ($700 million) over the next six years to upskill one-third of its employees in the United States. Amazon attributed its upskilling drive to the fourth industrial revolution, marked by the advent of machine learning, automation, AI, and related technologies.  

The world's largest online retailer's move stunned people across industries, mainly for two reasons. One, a tech giant like Amazon, which is a pioneer in automation and employs the best technology graduates, can also feel the need for upskilling. And two, the massive amount of money the company is contemplating to shell out to upskill its workforce and make them job-ready.   

Amazon's early adoption of upskilling programs is because of an unavoidable truth that employers around the world will soon have to grapple with. The company realizes that the skills of today will have no market value tomorrow, as machines will take over old roles and create new ones. This continuous process needs continuous upskilling.  

Upskilling Impacts the Bottom Line Significantly

The West Monroe Partners, in a report titled - "The Upskilling Crisis: Effectively Enabling and Retraining Employees for the Future," - quoted The World Economic Forum's assessment that hiring a new employee costs around $4,425. Whereas upskilling an employee, according to the Association for Talent Development's finding, costs an enterprise only $1,300. Given the cost-effectiveness of upskilling and the global talent crisis, organizations are increasingly becoming receptive to upskilling their workforce rather than burning a substantial amount of time and effort, finding new employees with required skill-sets and experience.  

As stated in a survey conducted by Dice and the Linux Foundation, the number of companies that said they would not cover the costs of employee certifications decreased from 21% in 2017 to 17% in 2018. The 6,500 open-source professionals and 750 hiring managers, surveyed by Dice and the Linux Foundation, also revealed that 55% of businesses paid for certifications of their tech professionals in 2018, up from 47% in 2017 and 34% in 2016.  

Blended Learning: The Right Set of Learning Techniques for Upskilling Employees

During Nina Rece's over an hour-long commute to her workplace, she was revising the digital notes on her tablet, while others fiddled with their smartphones or stared vacantly.  

Nina, project manager at a multinational tech firm, does not have the time to go to a college, so she squeezes study in between work and her family.

"Full-time degree courses aren't an option for me. I have to work, earn money to maintain my family, and keep the show going, "says 35-year-old Nina. "However, I am doing a Master's in Data Science, "she adds. "The flexibility offered by technology-based blended learning is making this possible."

Nina is not the only one. A Higher Education Authority report shows a drastic increase of 60%, between 2012 and 2016, in the number of students engaged in remote learning or off-campus education. Company employees, freelance professionals, and fresh graduates are opting for blended learning programs, as it enables self-paced learning, according to the convenience of the student.  

Blended learning is being widely embraced by Chief Learning Officers because it optimizes learning objectives by applying innovative, mixed methodologies, ranging from traditional classrooms to e-learning, virtual to multimedia, apps, and games. Here's why blended learning works best and is quickly becoming a new trend:

  • Blended learning boosts the efficiency of a learner because of its easy accessibility. Students can learn at their own pace, which takes the stress out and makes learning more effective.
  • This mixed learning technique builds engagement through study materials that are interactive and engaging. 
  • Blended learning facilitates improved communication, as organizations can easily update learners about new assignments, announcements, or test results, ensuring a seamless workflow.
  • Blended learning enables increased collaboration, allowing participants to engage in dynamic online discussions.
  • The state-of-the-art learning module helps keep track of a student's progress, enabling employers to understand a learner's weaknesses and strengths better. 

All blended learning modules, however, cannot deliver the desired result, as most educational institutions do not have the resources and experience to make an impact. Therefore, it's essential to choose a trusted learning platform like Simplilearn that offers customized blended learning solutions that can guide you and help further your career through upskilling. 

To know more, contact Simplilearn, one of the world's leading certification providers, in association with IBM.

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