Being desirable in the workplace and staying that way – is front and center for most people. One of the key drivers is the changing world of work. Increasing automation, robotics, and an expanding use of digital technologies are transforming how organizations do business. The effect this has on the shifting skills employers need in their workforce is huge. Add to that an aging population in some countries, and high unemployment rates in others, and it’s clear why people are looking for ways to ensure their employability is as great as possible.
A key part of staying employable is learning and development, as evidenced in Randstad’s Workmonitor research, conducted in 33 countries around the globe. Of the respondents, 86% say they need to keep learning in order to retain and increase employability.
Training and education is practically mandatory to stay up to date and retain or increase one’s skills and employability. Jos Schut, CHRO at Randstad, reiterates this: “I cannot stress the importance of continuous learning enough. We live in the post-digital age, so it is crucial people make sure they keep their skill set relevant and up to date. We see one technical innovation after another happening, and they have an enormous impact on the labor market and the demands placed on employers and their employees.”
fork in the road
Interestingly, Sweden is the one country where only 39% of people think they need continuous learning to stay in shape professionally speaking. The majority of Swedes believing they do not need ongoing learning and development is quite surprising, and indicates they underestimate the changes the world of work is going through. With increased levels of automation around the globe, acquiring specific skills or deepening job-related knowledge is key in ensuring one’s employability, now and in the future.
Who actually undergoes further education, and therefore benefits from its advantages, differs widely. In many countries more employed than unemployed people are enrolled in education or training. This is partially related to the type of work they do: some professions, e.g. medical specialists or legal professionals, demand more training due to developments in their field of work. However, more worryingly is the widely accepted belief that technological change will mean routine jobs will fade out and jobs requiring greater cognitive skill will grow. This means more education is needed for those who do not have a high level of education to stay employable. For those who are well-educated this won’t pose as much of a problem and they will naturally shift to higher-paying jobs.
Another outcome of Randstad’s Workmonitor research is that the idea of unemployed people retraining to fill empty positions due to labor scarcity, is generally accepted. Similarly, the majority of people (89%) would want to be retrained themselves in order to further personal development and avoid unemployment. And 4 out of 10 people would accept a lower salary or a demotion to keep their job.