58% of the workforce will need to upskill to be successful in their jobs


Paralleling the rapid rate of technological development, the skills required for a single job continue to increase 10% year over year, Gartner says.

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There’s no resting on laurels in the field of technology. To keep competitive and even just to keep up, workers are going to have to be constantly current and 58% of the workforce will need to develop new skill sets to do their jobs successfully. A new report from Gartner TalentNeuron said that one in three skills in an average 2017 IT job posting are already obsolete, and data indicates that the total number of skills required for a single position has increased 10% year over year since 2017.

Gartner reported that 64% of managers don’t think their employees will be able to keep pace with future skills needs, and 70% of employees admitted they haven’t even mastered the skills they need for their jobs. 

Last year’s world of work was unprecedented, and while things may never go back to exactly the way things operated pre-pandemic, many in the enterprise are considering a return to on-premise work as soon as everyone feels they can do so safely—whether through dedicated contact tracing, established safety protocols in the office, an insurance that everyone on staff has been inoculated, or even as far down the line as when the world reaches herd immunity. As the COVID-19 crisis closes in on the year anniversary of its odious start, some businesses were forced to shutter and others adopted hiring freezes. 

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

If an employee wants to rise to the top of the resume pile, they are going to have to consider serious upskilling, research the skills closely matched to those in demand and use training to close any gaps they may have.

Human resource leaders and headhunters realize that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to develop talent with the most in-demand skills. Emerging skills gaps from continual disruption of business, the hindrances imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, and rapidly evolving needs must be accelerated.

“Many organizations have focused on talent acquisition to get the skills they need, however a 2020 Gartner survey revealed that 74% of organizations froze hiring in response to COVID-19,” said Alison Smith, director in the Gartner HR practice, in a press release. “In today’s environment, hiring is not possible for many organizations. Instead, companies can look at current employees who have skills closely matched to those in demand and utilize training to close any gaps.”

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

HR leaders will need, Gartner recommended, “to increase transparency of current employee skill sets (maintain a portfolio of skills visible to HR so they’ll have a current view of skills for the entire organization), identify and mobilize nonobvious skills adjacencies (base needed upskills on what internal data science teams suggest), and adjust career pathing strategies to encourage flexible career progression (needs to be more fluid and unrestricted by traditional roles and skills requirements).”

“Career paths need to be flexible enough to enable employees to move around in—often unconventional—ways that allow the organization to best leverage employees’ skills adjacencies,” Smith said. “Uncoupling employees’ concept of ‘progress’ away from just roles and titles empowers employees to be dynamic and ready to change course as the organization needs.”

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