Work looks completely different in 2018 than it did just a generation ago. Where we work looks different, how we work has changed, and the skills any given employee needs are evolving faster than we can keep up. The pace of change has created a gap between the skills employees have right now and the skills they need to be successful.

Deloitte researchers have highlighted this issue, pointing out the ‘declining half-life of skills critical to the 21st-century organization’. The solution to the skills gap doesn’t belong to one player working alone. We believe that employers, trainers, and individuals will all need to invest in lifelong learning and find creative ways to collaborate.

Employers especially need workers skilled in software development, marketing and sales management, engineering, web development, and financial management, but those jobs are taking much longer to fill. Parenthexis (PX) Business lays out a framework to move everyone forward, together.

Need More Proactive Employers

When it comes to evolving skills in the workplace, employers have a clear business imperative to lead the way. To keep up with the current pace of change, companies will need to invest in their employees.

This may ultimately mean returning to an older model of training and development — one in which employers shared more responsibility for priming workers for success. Companies certainly feel a push to employ people who are skilled in the technology and mind-set of tomorrow’s workplace.

But hiring a workforce armed with those skills is expensive and impractical, leading many company leaders to consider building stronger in-house training programs. PX Business is designed to be a winning approach for small, medium and even large enterprise partners. Our team of developers observed that many organisations needed people who are missing key skills, was slow to execute on projects because they all worked with different technical languages, and didn’t have the confidence to deliver new applications. So a possible solution was to add an on-boarding program for every relevant new hire. This idea of starting early doesn’t just apply to technical skills, though.

Management training can be extremely important for a company’s overall health, but companies often don’t invest in it until people are in senior leadership positions. Studies show that people leave jobs because of their managers. But companies aren’t doing leadership training. The average age people start getting leadership training is their mid-40s, but the average age people become managers is their early 30s. Major companies across industries are starting to recognize this management training gap.

Some retail brands offer management training for managers and entry level employees on “managing up” to teach skills like giving and receiving feedback.

“Millennials are desperate for leadership training, and will leave if they don’t get it.”

Especially in fields that are changing very quickly like tech, what you learn in pre-university or postgraduate institutions isn’t going to be enough, because in a few years whole new languages and technology will emerge. Your early education can’t sustain you for your entire career.

That’s why there’s a real need for a way for people to get knowledge and learning throughout life.

Empowering Individuals

We all have access to more information and learning opportunities — without relying on employers or formal university programs — than ever before.

And as individuals, we seem to accept personal responsibility for own learning. A 2018 Dell Technologies report found that the majority of Generation Z think individuals carry most of the burden for developing their skills: 72 percent of respondents said they think individuals have “a lot” of responsibility when it comes to having the right skills and education. We suggest that employees have to own their onward development, 100 percent.

That’s a mind-set shift, with today’s generation of workers as “careerists”, since professionals are more mobile and are likely to work longer, more diverse careers than their counterparts did in the past.

The foundation of this mind-set is understanding how economic forces will affect your job, employer, and industry. Each sector has research reports that predict what will happen in the next few years — what trends will emerge, what specialties will evolve, and what skills will be in demand.

Individuals at every level can do basic research to find the futurist perspective on the industry.

There’s a lot of information and discussion, and often people agree on what’s next, but individuals think about where they can move within an organization, rather than how the field is moving as a whole.

“The people who get ahead of the curve and seek training in emerging fields will have a prime opportunity to rise above the rest.”

For example, if you work in investment management and you realize that everyone’s talking about robo-advisors as a deep, emerging trend, find the best place to learn about it. Individuals are more empowered than ever before. You used to have to go to the library or ask everyone you know in the field, but it’s no longer difficult to learn about the trends, tools, and skill sets you need to understand.

Take for granted that new things will be coming into every field, and no one will be able to do them. You can level the playing field by being one of the only ones who’s learned the newest skills.

“No one will have 10 years of experience on you. No one will have any experience.”

However, we understand that learning new skills randomly won’t add up to a dramatic new career.

PX Business encourages learners to document the work they’ve done on their own development to build a story-line they can parlay into a career jump.

Keep a record as you’re building and working, as you start to develop your story and share your personal value proposition, you’ll want to be able to talk about the new things you did to improve and grow.

Don’t wait until you’re behind before you start planning your learning pathway. Do you need to earn new certifications? Get a degree? Demonstrate specific experience? Look for training opportunities you need within your current organization.

If you can’t find them there, keep looking.

You might find what you need through a course at a university or online training program, a mentoring program through local professional groups, or through taking on a leadership role on a board or at a non-profit you support. Smart employers expect you to take this sort of initiative and will welcome you as a partner in your own development.

PX Business is designed with a commitment to the idea of bottom-up development, pushing employees to take control over their own career trajectory and development opportunities without waiting for a centralized learning and development department to tell them what they need to learn.

While some organisational leaders think they provide employees with the resources they need, their goal is to leave learning decisions and career trajectory to each individual employee. If finding time and resources to power your own learning program is difficult, PX Business can help meet your goals.

Of course, there are so many learning opportunities available — from online colleges, continuing-education programs at universities, professional associations, boot camps, and many other providers — that it can be hard to figure out which will give you the most bang for your buck. We suggest sampling courses and programs before you sign up. Read the books of the instructors or research their other work.

PX Business is created to encourage people to put their new skills to the test early on. The only way to learn is by doing things that are uncomfortable.

But that’s how we learn. We never meet anyone who learned to ride a bike by reading a book, then getting on the bike for the first time and riding it perfectly.

You fall down, skin your knees, get back on, and, eventually, you learn. We believe that any career skill, from a technical skill to management, works the same way: You can go out and learn new skills, but ultimately you have to put them into action to really learn your craft. It’s going to start slow and awkward, but it’s worth it to invest the time.

The much-discussed “skills gap” says more about the direction the world is moving in than about a fundamental flaw among modern employees.

As the technology that drives our work environments continues to evolve faster and faster, the skills gap isn’t something we need to close just once.

It’s a moving target that employers, schools, and individuals will all keep running to meet.

The specific technical skills and specializations that employers need among talent will continue to change, but companies, schools, and individuals who build a culture of lifelong, enthusiastic, supported learning will be best prepared to thrive.

PX Business is pioneering a shift from traditional learning management systems to a super-charged model – where you learn, teach and create in many ways online, and it never stops. We recognize the need to learn throughout life to stay competitive.

Employees now view professional development as an essential perk. They demand it. And companies can play a powerful role in supporting employees through learning. Looking to give your team a competitive edge? Try PX Business free* today.

*14-Day Free Trial for Verified Users.

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