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Why there is a growing need for employers to retrain and reskill their current workforce

We are in the middle of a growing skills gap ‘perfect storm’ where, in so many sectors, an ever-increasing number of jobs simply do not have enough qualified candidates to fill them.

There are too few candidates overall and those candidates available are often lacking the skills necessary to do the job.

For many businesses this is proving a significant barrier for growth.

So, what are businesses facing this challenge to do?

Addressing the growing skills gap through adding new talent has its fair share of downsides, including increased cost and loss of time and productivity. Even then there are no guarantees that you will find the ideal candidate.

The solution for more and more businesses is to invest in current employees, which historically for many businesses has been a low priority, to ensure they are trained, skilled and prepared to complete the work needed both now and in the future.

Indeed, according to a recent McKinsey survey executives are increasingly seeing, investing in retraining and “upskilling” existing workers as an urgent business priority that companies, not governments, must lead on to fill ongoing skills gaps and “to increase employee productivity” especially due to the added challenges that digitisation, automation and AI present.

AT&T has pledged to spend $1 billion to “reskill” roughly 100,000 of its employees with new training in data science, cybersecurity and other novel fields.

The company’s ‘Future Ready’ initiative allows employees to access an online portal which not only displays open positions, salary ranges and the skills needed to be qualified for the roles but has allowed, in just a few years, nearly 60,000 workers to take classes, learn skills, earn certifications and enrol on an online master’s program delivered in partnerships with universities and online course providers that are recognised throughout AT&T.

The hard truth is that it is not possible to sit around and wait for things to improve or for others to magically solve the problem; industries and businesses are having to change their approach to cultivating a more skilled workforce.