Currently, the World Economic Forum is taking place again. There’s a lot to criticize about it, but there are regularly good conversations online there – also and especially about the future of work.
A little less than a year after the last talk related to the Global Skills Framework, which I summarized here some time ago, the title of the follow-up talk this year translates as:
Preparing 1 billion people for tomorrow’s economy
In the discussion group this year:
- Zanny Minton Beddoes, The Economist (again, the presenter).
- Jonas Prising, CEO of the Manpower Group
- Belen Garijo, Chairwoman of the Executive Board of Merck
- C. Vijayakumar, CEO & Managing Director of HCLTech
- Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education in the United Arab Emirates
The consensus was that in the age of Generative AI – made visible in recent weeks via the attention economy that ChatGPT and subsequently other AI tools have managed to attract – the pressure on changing professional profiles had increased further. Moreover, the traditional educational institutions have been caught off guard and are themselves largely overwhelmed in their ability to help people along and lead them into the future. So what now, according to the central question?
Today, he said, it’s about learning (LQ) or capacity building (CQ), which individuals must take into their own hands. Being able to upskill oneself in a controlled manner becomes the central figure in an exponentially evolving environment.
However, this also requires access to appropriately qualified learning opportunities. Who can provide them? Universities, it was agreed, can make a contribution here at most in creative conjunction with the private sector.
France’s approach, which provides its workers with a personal digital learning assistant, is highlighted as a better alternative. Bob, as it is called (we reported on it here and in reference here ), offers interested parties individualized access to further training according to their individual skills and interests – and provides between €500 and €5,000 annually for this purpose.
This would be a first approach to address the challenges. (Don’t worry: There will be no Bob in Germany …)
As another approach, there needs to be an expanded understanding among middle managers to change their leadership skills. In other words, to train their soft skills in order to provide the team with the best conditions to achieve the desired goals.
Soft skills, as we never tire of emphasizing these days, are now more important than hard skills, which are usually quickly outdated. First and foremost, the ambition of the individual to make a difference is imperative to overcome the rut of time. This should be valued even more highly than formal knowledge and previous experience. Here, a major shift in successful applications is emerging.
Fine, but do we continue to need so many people willing and able to upskill to really new jobs that need to get done in these diverse times of crisis?
Absolutely, the number could be even higher now. Of the 3 billion people currently working in the global labor market, about half will have to undergo radical training. Well, then …