The Race to Reskill: A Global Reskilling Revolution is needed by 2025

With a huge wave of rapid reskilling occurring since Covid-19 forced millions of workers to master the digital challenges of remote working. But with the everchanging digital landscape and the rise of AI, the risks of being left behind might be creeping up on us as soon as 2025.

What more needs to be done, and what does the future of work look like?

Originally published: 29th April 2022
Last Edited: 5th January 2024
What's happening?

The workforce is automating at a faster rate than ever anticipated

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, since 2020 the workforce has been automating faster than anticipated. The Covid-19 pandemic likely accelerated this. Approximately 85 million jobs have been displaced in recent years. However, 97 million new jobs are expected to be created in technology fields.

The new skills in demand by 2025

We need a global reskilling revolution by 2025

The World Economic Forum have also reported that almost 50% of their workforce will require significant re- and upskilling. By 2025, it’s predicted that analytical thinking, creativity, and flexibility will be among the most desired skills by employers who are looking to hire. Although, a key focus will remain on digital and technological skills as the workforce is likely to digitalise and automate further.

By 2030 as many as 375 million workers, which is approximately 14% percent of the global workforce, may need to switch occupational categories, according to a McKinsey Global report. As digitisation, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence become major disruptors in the world of work, is it will be necessary that the workforce adapts alongside.

Although many business leaders are gaining awareness of the rapidly growing scale of the task that ahead, this has had yet to translate into much significant action.

The rise of Artificial Intelligence

The rise of artificial intelligence has been looming for a while, with OpenAI’s ChatGPT becoming one of the biggest user-friendly and widely used AI Chatbots to date, it’s proving to be a huge disruptor for many.

OpenAI introduced the long-form question-answering AI – ChatGPT, which answers complex questions conversationally.

Reaching one million users in just 5 days, it’s become an extremely popular and revolutionary technology because it’s trained to learn what humans mean when they ask a question.

Many users are stunned at its ability to provide human-quality responses, albeit a few misunderstandings and errors here and there. But with ChatGPT using a combination of machine learning algorithms and deep learning techniques, it’s likely to learn from it’s errors and provide more and more accurate responses overtime.

ChatGPT has inspired the feeling that it may eventually have the power to disrupt how humans interact with computers and change how information is retrieved.

Skill shortages

The need for reskilling has been at forefront of world leaders conversations during the world’s first AI Safety Summit, which was held in the UK back in November 2023. The summit brought leaders from 28 countries together to sign a pact, The Bletchley Declaration of AI Safety.

The pact is set out to help curb any negative impacts of AI, stating that AI should be designed, developed, deployed, and used, in a manner that is safe – in a way that is trustworthy, responsible and as human-centric as possible. The pact also aims to ensure AI promotes inclusive economic growth, sustainable development and innovation, to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to foster public trust and confidence in AI systems to fully realise their potential.

But it’s not just AI where there’s a need for technological upskilling, according to GOV.UK, the UK are experiencing the following tech based skill shortages:

  • IT business analysts, architects, and systems designers.
  • Programmers and software development professionals.
  • Web design and development professionals.
  • Cybersecurity specialists.
Lacking basic skills

Lack of advanced IT in the UK isn’t the only issue. Approximately 22% of the UK workforce do not have what is classed as ‘Essential Digital Skills for Work‘, this includes skills that enable people to do thing such as:

  • Use the internet on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or PC.
  • Communicate online using email and social media.
  • Work from home or a remote location. For example, using online tools like Zoom, Teams and Facetime to communicate.
  • Create online accounts to access information.
  • Search for reliable information online.
  • Behave safely and legally online.
Remaining competitive

How big is the challenge of reskilling and upskilling?

The task confronting every economy, especially in advanced economies, will likely be centred around retraining and redeploying tens of millions of midcareer, middle-age workers. There are only a very small amount of precedents where this has happened before.

Encouraging those who are economically inactive to reskill and return to the workforce

The Office for National Statistics reported that economic inactivity rates were reported to be 20.9% – this includes people who are not in employment, but do not meet the internationally accepted definition of unemployment due to the fact that they have not been seeking work within the last four weeks, or are unable to start work in the next two weeks.

Businesses that want to remain competitive will prioritise their focus on preparing the workforce with new skills

The race to reskill.

The need for workforce innovation, large-scale upskilling, reskilling and re-deployment initiatives provide opportunities for both employees and employers. Businesses have the opportunity to drive the necessary transformation, allowing for increased productivity, profitability as well as contributing to improve the national standard of employability skills. Upskilling and reskilling can help to improve the productivity and profitability of businesses, as well as providing an environment that ensures all workers have the required transferrable employability skills allowing them to be confident and productive within the new world of work.