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Davos 2020: Why are reskilling efforts failing?

It's the best way to stay relevant but are leaders doing enough for employees?

Source | | Nurhuda Syed

The age of automation demands constant reskilling and upskilling, but not enough is being done to keep up with the current pace of change. This was a key takeaway at a recent panel discussion at the World Economic Forum.

Moderating the panel last week, Jim Hagemann Snabe, Chairman at Siemens AG shared a simple anecdote that explained both the urgent need and challenge of it all.

A CFO and a CEO were chatting and one asked the other, “what if we reskill someone and they leave us?” To which came the reply, “what if we don’t reskill them and they stayed?”

Panellist Robert E. Moritz, Global Chairman at PwC agreed that leadership’s lukewarm attitude towards L&D is a big barrier for the ‘reskilling revolution’.

“What’s getting in the way is the unpreparedness or unwillingness to have leadership in this area,” Moritz said.

“The power of the ‘and’ is so important here. Unfortunately corporations and governments see this as a standalone issue that requires standalone funding, without [the ability to] actually provide ROI.”

This is why leaders remain unconvinced and think about the different aspects of its real benefits, for example improving the business bottomline or society’s overall progress, in silos, he added.

“How do you package together that doing this not only solves a skills issue narrative, and potentially a ‘technology refugee’ issue, but also a lot of other problems?” he asked.

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