With the world starting to witness a new wave of transformation and innovation across verticals, it has become imperative for organizations to invest resources in the learning and development of their workforce. Business leaders are increasingly recognizing the need for professionals to engage in upskilling and reskilling to keep up with the pace at which technology is evolving. According to the 2018 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, 75 million jobs are expected to be displaced by 2022 in 20 major economies in the world. Just like it is taking away repetitive, low-value jobs, technology also has the potential to create new, specialized jobs roles.
It is said that the evolution of technology could create 133 million new roles driven by large-scale growth to meet the shifts in the global economy. An increasing number of companies are dedicating resources to ensure that not only the middle and lower levels of management have updated skill sets, but also the C-Suite leaders.
The skilling/reskilling revolution
New-age technologies such as AI, ML, RPA, IoT, and Data Analytics have taken over the world. Today, these technologies are being incorporated into almost every aspect of our day-to-day life. However, most of us have barely scratched the surface when it comes to unlocking the benefits of these technologies, and are unequipped to tackle it on a large scale. This is where reskilling, upskilling, and cross-skilling come into the picture. As per market research, at least 54% of employees will need reskilling and upskilling by the end of the year 2022. But only 30% of them have received adequate training to prevent technology from sinking their jobs in the tide of time.
As a counteractive as well as a proactive measure to bridge the yawning skill gap, the Government of India launched the Skill India program in 2015. The initiative aimed at training over 40 crore people across the country. According to popular estimations, India’s workforce will cross 600 million by 2022. With the growing number of graduates and start-ups in the country (1300 start-ups were added in 2019), this number will only increase in the future. In today’s rapidly advancing world, learning new skills, leveraging them when necessary and constantly honing them will ensure that one stays relevant across all time frames.
Learn, unlearn, relearn, repeat
In order to bridge the skill gap, the private sector’s efforts need to go hand in hand with the government’s initiatives. Enterprises need to ensure that they are nurturing and creating future-ready employees. How? By enabling a culture of continuous learning, unlearning and relearning within their organization. Such an approach to learning & development has emerged as the best way forward for modern educators and innovation specialists and it stands to reason why.
Rapid technological advancements and increasing digital adoption have made it necessary for new-age professionals to possess a diverse set of skills so that they can seamlessly collaborate with cross-functional teams. According to Mercer | Mettl’s State of Workplace Learning & Development 2020, there are a lot of future skills sets that organizations need to focus on, learning agility being one of them with 36% organizations planning to invest in it in 2020.
At the same time, employees need to constantly upgrade their skills and competencies as the integration of newer technologies brings along with it the need for a fresh knowledge base required for operating them. Against this backdrop, the importance of unlearning as both a personal philosophy and professional conduct has become more critical than ever before.
No wonder, then, that professionals who possess learning agility are in great demand among modern organizations. This is because agile learners have the ability to adapt to situations since they possess the required skills in order to blend into the situation. They can unlearn their current ideas, perspectives, and competencies once they become obsolete and quickly relearn the newer skill-sets that will allow them to stay relevant in the dynamic jobs landscape.
Consequently, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that “learn, unlearn, and relearn” has emerged as the L&D anthem for all upskilling, reskilling, and cross-skilling initiatives across the globe. The criticality of this approach to skill development is illustrated in the words of writer, futurist, businessman Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who can’t read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”