62% Businesses Say Increased Investment in Education and Training Is a Top Priority: Study

The emergence of modern technology, digitalization and automation is forcing businesses to re-strategize their approach towards human resources. A recent study was conducted by Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work, which surveyed 601 top business executives at leading companies and 262 higher education institutions, globally. It addressed the core issues relating to preparing the future workforce for advance learning, reskilling, identifying future skills and gaining insights into the changes these entities are making in their educational programs, and the challenges they face in preparing tomorrow’s workforce.

Workforce training important for business too

It is important to reskill existing workforce and prepare the next gen with the latest emerging technologies as future jobs will demand more of an automotive approach with introduction AI, Machine learning, etc. Many routine jobs will be replaced with AI and automation will take over. This will make quite a few jobs obsolete. In this scenario, reskilling, learning and upgrading is required. This will need skills of the future, and overhaul existing curriculum. This is a huge challenge both for business, the upcoming generation and existing workforce. The study revealed that among business respondents, 64% believe work will be intertwined with learning in the future as people adopt new skills to align with employment opportunities. Businesses and educational institution will need to adapt their content, curriculum and training and teaching to the needs of learners and the job market.

Any employer needs a workforce that is competent and has expertise in the niche that it operates in. Therefore, no matter what that company operates in, a skilled workforce is needed in the same manner in which investments and returns on capital are necessary to sustain the operations. This leads us to the next point wherein how do the various private and the public sector companies, the non-governmental institutions including government working in the field of labour relations, and the future workers should come together to coordinate and cooperate in a wholesome effort to skill the workforce.

Key findings of the study

Demand for certain skill will increase and others will decline and the situation will require both business and higher educational institutions to work proactively. In order to facilitate these changes, the study revealed a future of learning equation that helps entities fundamentally redesign their learning processes and structures by responding to the changes needed to equip people for the work ahead. Bringing these practices to scale will require businesses and educational institutions to perform the following steps, says the study:

  • Identify skills required for future jobs.
  • Curate flexible and adaptive learning content that is updated continuously to allow learners to rapidly acquire new skills.
  • Embrace new forms of teaching and training (from instructor-led, to AI-driven and AR/VR-adapted, for instance) to increase learning effectiveness.

The purpose is that companies and educational institutions take the responsibility to keep up with the skills and knowledge needed for the future of work by continuously adapting workforce capabilities through continuous training, skilling and reskilling. The study revealed that 62% of businesses stated that increasing investment in this space is a top priority. While businesses currently invest just 2.1% of their total annual revenue on workforce training/learning, on average, that will nearly double to 4% in 5 years.

Evolving course, content and study

The study reveals that AI & robotics are becoming disciplines in themselves and are emerging as major areas of emphasis, with certificate programs and courses in many colleges and universities. These courses need to be complemented with problem-solving components in order to produce workers who can use technology to address real-world problems.

A number of multinational organizations and educational institution are investing into curriculum and content of their educational programs. The idea is to introduce relevant curriculum which is focused on new age technology. This will help in creating a framework that serves as a starting point for understanding what every individual needs to succeed in the work ahead. In future more organization and higher educational institutions will seek greater collaborative partnership to successfully manage the transformative and disruptive impact of the new machine age.

The growing importance of evolving technologies is becoming a way for changing course and curriculum in Indian educational institutions too. Thus, higher educational institutions are making necessary changes in imparting tool and training in AI culture, robotics technology, machine learning etc. Institutions like NIIT, Amity University, Sikkim Manipal University, IIMs and IIT’s to name a few are proactively working on the same path. Government initiatives have also started on the same front as understanding of these technology increases by setting up training institutes for grooming next generation. The growing awareness will be helping the coming generation with new methodology of study via new modalities and technological advancement. As the work place scenario is evolving understanding and learning on advance technologies also grows. This will be empowering the workforce with new skill set which in turn help smoother functioning of the organization as a whole with increased productivity. The implementation of robotics and artificial intelligence in work place and factories will differ and bring transformative changes for many workers, depending on their industry and role.

In recent months, the Indian government has come up with a program to undertake mass based skilling initiatives aimed at the workforce of tomorrow. This will enable creation of a capable and competent workforce that is skilled adequately to meet the challenges of the labour market.

(Image Courtesy: www. medium.com)

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