Workforce development is key to the collective economic future and to the UK’s global economic competitiveness and leadership. Before the pandemic, chief executives viewed the unavailability of talent and skills as one of their biggest business threats. Now, although the recession is increasing the availability of candidates to hire, automation is rapidly changing the nature of work, the importance of new digital skills is ever increasing and the skills shortage is widening.
It is cheaper to ‘build than buy’, to extend existing employee skills than recruit. Yet, when it comes to that critical reskilling and upskilling, many businesses are lagging behind. While at least $240bn is spent globally every year on corporate training, only a small proportion currently goes towards technology and genuine upskilling and reskilling – and much of that is on the limited solution of e-learning content, often with a focus on generic compliance training, rather than understanding how to identify and tackle skills gaps.
While tailored content is still needed, it plays a diminishing part in a fast-moving, boundaryless and service-based global workplace. Workforce development must move on from working in a silo to being deeply embedded across the business and, crucially, from a focus on content delivery and learning to a focus on performance.
About This Report
The future of workforce development is now. While Covid has thrown in new challenges, it has created many new opportunities, while expediting the awareness of and appetite for technology.
In collaboration with FutureLearn and under the leadership of Donald H Taylor, chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute, we have been fortunate to work with and speak to more than 50 corporate leaders who are innovating in this field. There is still a long way to go but there is a shared sense of optimism in the space, coupled with broader acknowledgement of the role workforce development should have in organisations.
The future is not about content, it is about performance. It is not about siloed L&D and talent departments, it is about workforce development that runs across the whole organisation. It is not about boxes ticked and hours studied, but progress made and results achieved.
Emerge Education is a European edtech seed fund investing in world-class founders who are solving the $8.5tn skills gap. Emerge is backed by strategics such as Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Assessment and Jisc, as well as the founders of globally renowned Edtech companies. Together, we are building the future of learning.
FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform jointly owned by The Open University and The SEEK Group. FutureLearn partners with over a quarter of the world’s top universities and has over 14 million users taking short online courses, microcredentials, and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that improve their working lives.