Jobs and the Future of Work

Who is responsible for training today’s workforce?

Jonas Prising
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ManpowerGroup
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The need to prepare talent for the fast-changing world of work is a top priority for companies focused on meeting their business goals for 2013. Yet, training today’s talent to take on new roles in transforming industries is not only the responsibility of companies. This priority is also shared by all stakeholders in regional economies, including governments, educators and trade groups.

Companies that I meet are continually learning how to reinforce their workforce strategy, at both local and global levels. They face a constantly changing mix of local dynamics, such as an ageing workforce and new sources of economic power, that compound macroeconomic trends to have unpredictable effects.

Developing the right skills in the right talent requires raising the bar on innovative collaboration across public and private sectors. This multifaceted effort is pivotal to restoring economic dynamism.

In my work with some of the most progressive companies in the world, I meet business leaders who are constantly re-strategizing on how to develop and upskill their workforce. They need the right talent in place, for years to come, to drive business results. To ensure that their talent can understand how different business functions are affected by converging economic forces, more and more of them are training their talent, including tomorrow’s business leaders, to perform cross-functionally or across industries.

These training initiatives require the resources and expertise of a range of business leaders in different industries — as well as area educators, workforce development boards, government agencies, business mentors and entrepreneurial incubators. It’s exciting to see varied categories of influencers collaborate and build high-skilled training initiatives. All of these stakeholders, which help to fuel regional economies, ultimately benefit from upskilling local talent pools.

A regional training hub retains area companies and talent, and attracts the new companies and talent needed to drive long-term growth. But for a cross-functional training hub to be effective in the long term it needs to develop the exact skills that industries growing in the area will need in years to come. One way to build a cross-functional training hub is to use a skills clusters model.

Skills clusters group multiple occupations, requiring similar skills, to mobilize workers across different roles and sectors. They focus on developing foundational skills, which prepare individuals to enter specific industries early in their careers or to move into a new role/industry later.

This model can be successful only if companies lead the effort to build them and more thoroughly inform candidates and all providers of job training of the specific skills they will require years down the road.

Author: Jonas Prising is President of ManpowerGroup and is scheduled to participate in the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2013 in Davos.

 Image: A man welds steel bars on a construction site REUTERS/China Daily

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Jobs and the Future of WorkFinancial and Monetary SystemsEducation and Skills
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