In today’s rapidly changing workplace, the skills that people need to future-proof their careers are already beginning to look different.
The need for new skills in the workplace is perpetual – and every wave of transformation makes this more urgent than before. The Data Revolution has propelled the importance of learning as an imperative. But what exactly does that mean?
Let me share my personal story of learning. As part of a Microsoft-wide learning initiative, recently I took a tech-skilling course on Azure myself. Initially I struggled to find time on my calendar. But once I did, there was just no looking back. (Thank you, online micro-learning!) As I paced through the modules during whatever free time I could find, I discovered so many new things that I had earlier simply assumed that I knew. Turns out I had to learn, unlearn and relearn. In several interactions with customers and partners right after I had acquired my new “tech skills”, I found myself having richer conversations while enabling their digital transformation journeys. What’s more, this learning journey has given me a new energy to look for more such transformational learning experiences.
Skilling isn’t a specialist’s niche requirement. It’s not for any one demographic or geo-specific set. In today’s rapidly changing workplace, the skills that people need to future-proof their careers are already beginning to look different.
Changes in the talent marketplace will accelerate with the adoption of technologies like automation and AI. These technologies will create new types of job opportunities that don’t even exist today – and we don’t have the resources to cater to these requirements. Look at job titles like machine learning engineer or data scientist – these have been among the top emerging roles in India over the last five years.
Technology will complement the workforce rather than compete with and replace human capability. The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs 2018 report confirms our beliefs on the urgent need to train and re-skill the workforce. It states that by 2022, at least 133 million new roles will emerge owing to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms. When there’s such demand, skilling must be at scale.
I meet CEOs from very different industries every week and their views are very insightful. Each one of them agrees on skilling as a priority across all levels of their organizations. Especially when it comes to technology, skilling is as much a need for the decision-making CXO suite as it is for middle and early-stage management.
Bottom-line: Learning is for each of us.
As leaders, I believe this is our time to role model the always-on learner mindset. Change begins with each one of us and we cannot make an impact in empowering our people if we don’t walk the talk now. We need to make time and upskill ourselves at every opportunity. This momentum then must continue across the board. Senior and mid-level managers must prioritize skilling for not just themselves but also their teams. A razor-sharp focus on building the appropriate combinations of future-ready skills will create the differentiators in the talent landscape. For early career professionals, learning will have to match or even outpace the velocity of transformation. Given the abundance of information, the time is now to continuously learn, unlearn and relearn.
What did you learn yesterday? What will you learn today? Authored By: Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India