The Skills Revolution and the Future of Learning and Earning


Technology is changing the nature of work. To prepare the workforce of tomorrow and ensure sustainable and inclusive growth, education and vocational training will need to adapt to new ways of working.

As companies and organizations in all sectors deploy new technologies — including automation and artificial intelligence — ensuring this evolution fosters shared, sustainable prosperity will likely hinge on how well societies prepare the workforces of tomorrow.

Private and public sector leaders have a critical role to play in helping to create family sustaining jobs, close skills gaps, and ensure tech-fueled growth leaves no one behind. It highlights the importance of focusing on skills development at all educational stages and examines how new technologies and approaches can help both students entering the workforce and workers to succeed.

Demand for social and emotional skills along with higher cognitive skills will grow, as will demand for both basic and advanced digital skills. Educational systems and companies are already building a living list of future skills to mobilize learners and educators. Alongside skills of the future, focusing on foundational skills including basic literacy and numeracy will be essential.

Demand for new technologies in education, boosted by the pandemic, is rising. Technologies that enhance connectivity, support self-paced learning, and inform student progress are increasingly deployed as part of a “blended” education in higher education. However, the essence of any successful blended-learning model is to combine the best of technology with intensive human interaction, especially for younger students.

Skills development continues in the workplace long after formal education ends. To ensure a workforce with skills appropriate for the changing workplace, employers can consider hiring more for skills and less for experience and qualifications, embracing a “talent incubator” mindset that supports employees who take on different roles and being thoughtful and deliberate about how to address skills gaps.

Reimagining and rethinking the learning and earning nexus of the global workforce and investing in the shifts needed to provide people with the skills of tomorrow is a challenge for all of society. By working together, public- and private-sector leaders can ensure tech-fueled growth becomes an engine of broad-based prosperity. The time to begin this journey is now.