Investment in upskilling could boost global GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030

New report highlights the need for upskilling to be accelerated across all sectors to safeguard the economy

Accelerating upskilling would ensure that people have the experience and skills needed for the modern job market – boosting global productivity by 3%, on average, by 2030 says a new report by the World Economic Forum.

Upskilling for Shared Prosperity, authored in collaboration with PwC, also found that the newly created jobs will be those that are complemented – rather than replaced – by technology.

COVID-19 has raised the demand for upskilling, says Bob Moritz, Global Chairman of PwC: “Even before COVID-19, the rise of automation and digitisation was transforming global job markets, resulting in the need for large-scale upskilling and reskilling.

“This need has become even more important, and as we highlight in our new insight report with the Forum – upskilling is key to stimulating the economic recovery from COVID-19 and creating more inclusive and sustainable economies.

“To make this happen, greater public-private collaboration will be key. We’re delighted to be part of the Reskilling Revolution platform, which will help foster greater action, collaboration, accountability and progress on this important topic,”

One year of the Reskilling Revolution

The research on upskilling supports the work of the Reskilling Revolution platform. Launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January 2020, the Reskilling Revolution aims to provide better education, skills and work to one billion people by 2030.

In its first year, despite the pandemic and economic downturn, the platform’s initiatives have benefitted more than 50 million people globally, through rapid reskilling, upskilling and redeployment.

“Millions of jobs have been lost through the pandemic while accelerating digitisation mean that many are unlikely to return. We need new investments in the jobs of tomorrow, the skills people need for moving into these new roles and education systems that prepare young people for the new economy and society,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.

“Initiatives like the Reskilling Revolution hold the key to converting ideas into action and creating the necessary coordination between the public and the private sectors. There is no time to waste.”

After focusing in 2020 on setting up systems for rapid reskilling and upskilling – particularly vital in the pandemic – the initiative will continue to scale up its work in its second year while expanding its work in education, job-creating investments and work standards.

“Investment in job creation, particularly climate-friendly jobs, is key to ensuring a Reskilling Revolution, and concerted action by governments and by business is needed urgently,” said Sharan Burrow, General-Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Developing a common language for skills

The absence of a shared language for skills poses a significant obstacle for the reskilling and upskilling agenda. The Global Skills Taxonomy: A Common Language to Unlock the Reskilling Revolution report by the World Economic Forum, provides a common taxonomy for skills to help employers, government and learning providers match talent to jobs and learning opportunities.

The report includes specific definitions of skills, creating a common taxonomy for the labour market to adopt, from online training providers and universities to hiring managers in companies and education ministries. It consists of an interactive taxonomy with definitions and recommendations for adoption to inform hiring, reskilling and redeployment practices in the workplaces of the future.

More about the Reskilling Revolution

The Reskilling Revolution works through three action tracks: Forum-led initiatives that engage the public and the private sectors in joint initiatives; public-sector and multistakeholder initiatives; and company-led initiatives.

The Closing the Skills Gap country accelerators are developing and implementing national strategies for reskilling and upskilling. Accelerators are active in 10 countries with Georgia, Greece and Turkey having recently established accelerators and a further six accelerators are under discussion. Commitments made by established and planned accelerator countries and their member companies to reskill and upskill their employees are expected to reach up to 47 million individuals.

Comprised of major online learning providers, including Udacity and Coursera, and reaching 200 million learners worldwide, the Forum-led Skills Consortium aims to elevate online learning as an accepted route to employment to provide more opportunities for reskilling, upskilling and redeployment. Building on this success, the Chief Learning Officer Community brings together industry leaders in learning and development to transform workplace learning for 2.9 million employees.

In the year ahead, the Consortium, the community of Chief Human Resources Officers and Chief Learning Officers of the Reskilling Revolution platform will work on adopting the skills taxonomy to help make skills the key currency of the labour market and create greater efficiencies in the labour market.

The Preparing for the Future of Work industry accelerators are estimated to have reached nearly eight million employees to prepare them with future-oriented skills. The Chief Human Resource Officer Community also brings together companies’ HR leaders to share best practices and mobilize action to provide better jobs and skills to a further four million employees.

Multistakeholder coalitions that joined the Reskilling Revolution, led by UNICEF among others, have been focused on delivering better education and skills, through equalizing access to digital learning.

Company-led initiatives are helping future-proof their workforces, even in an economically constrained environment.

Reskilling Revolution companies are leading new approaches to support their workforces, and their supply chains and communities through access to education, skills and better jobs. In addition to founding members of the platform, such as Adecco Group, LinkedIn and ManpowerGroup, the initiative recently welcomed new partner commitments from Royal Bank of Canada, Unilever and Verizon.
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