This is the third of a 4-part article series featuring excerpts from the ‘Nurturing Authenticity in the Workplace’ white paper. The white paper compiles data from three Randstad studies - Employer Brand Research, Workmonitor and Talent Trends - to help employers understand the correlation between organisational values & cultures and the outcomes of their talent attraction strategies.

The constantly evolving modern workplace needs workers who can adapt to new skills and technologies to maintain their competitive edge. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, 44% of employers estimate their workers' skills will be disrupted in the next five years.

This alongside with the fact that 60% of workers of the modern workforce require additional training for their current roles before 2027, with only half expecting access to adequate training opportunities. This puts immense pressure on employers to prioritise learning and development for their workers to prepare them for the future workplace.

an equitable workplace empowers everyone with tools and resources to upskill
an equitable workplace empowers everyone with tools and resources to upskill

In an equitable workforce, employers empower their employees with tools and resources to leverage advancing technology, thus enhancing job efficiency and boosting employee performance. Workers must learn to think critically, solve problems creatively, develop and acquire in-demand skills to thrive in the future of work.

the importance of skills development in the future workplace

Growth and learning for the modern workers, also known as employee development, encompasses the lifelong learning of skills, knowledge and experiences to adapt and progress in today's dynamic work landscape.

With rapid digital transformation and the ever-changing nature of jobs, continuous learning is pivotal for professional growth. Report from Randstad's 2023 Talent Trends shows that 76% of more than 900 C-suite and human capital leaders in 18 global markets are placing a greater emphasis on skills development and career engagement.

As demand for valuable skills becomes more complex and sophisticated, employees will need more training programmes and career development options to ensure that they will always have what they need to secure their jobs, and to stay competitive in the modern workplace.

Workers also need the guidance from their employers to know that they are upskilling in the right direction to pursue their career goals and the company’s overall objectives. This means having a clear understanding of where their personal skill gaps are to build employee development plans, as well as performance indicators that they need to fulfil to guarantee job stability and achieve their own career aspirations.

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the time to resolve disparities in learning and development is now

Companies ranked both hard and soft skills, including analytical thinking, creative thinking, AI, and big data, as well as leadership and social influence, as key focuses for upskilling and re-skilling by 2027.

However, even though leaders and HR professionals have all the intentions of upskilling and reskilling their modern workforce with a clear objective to meet, achieving these outcomes presents a challenge in itself.

ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to upskill
ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to upskill

One complex hurdle is providing value through learning & development (L&D) in a fair and equitable way across genders and ages to create a future-ready workforce with a growth mindset geared toward long-term goals.

1. the gender disparity in learning & development

While women and men embark on their L&D journeys on an even keel, the scales tip as they progress.

Women have been found to be more efficient than men in achieving proficiency levels. They excel in several areas such as cognitive skills, management and engagement skills, and ethical and technological skills, often reaching higher proficiency levels in less time.

However, when it comes to advanced technology skills, the picture changes. There's a significant 29% difference in gender parity between beginner (76%) and advanced levels (47%) among women.

This indicates that despite initial gender equality at lower proficiency levels, a shift occurs as individuals advance their skills, leading to larger disparities between genders.

These trends suggest the existence of systemic or societal factors that contribute to widening gaps as people gain expertise.

Discriminatory practices and educational materials can create gender gaps in learning and skills development, which can impact the diversity ratio at the management level.

To mitigate gender inequalities in the workplace, consider the following strategies:

  • Implement gender-neutral professional development and training programmes
  • Offer mentorship and sponsorship initiatives for women
  • Establish online learning, especially about technical skills to support remote learning
  • Increase employee engagement through gender-inclusive development programmes

By ensuring gender equity in the current workforce through equal opportunities for employees to access lifelong learning, you demonstrate your commitment to their developmental journey, job performance and drive employee motivation.

2. the age disparity in learning & development

The youth of today represent the leaders of tomorrow, and their role in shaping the future of our businesses and society at large cannot be understated. However, recent statistics paint a concerning picture.

While the youth population aged between 15 and 24 grew by 30% between 1999 and 2019, their global labour force participation rate decreased by approximately 12%.

The youth of today are digital natives, agile learners and creative thinkers. They have the potential to drive technological advancements, spearhead innovative solutions, and bring fresh perspectives to the table.

But without the right opportunities to hone their skills and talents, we risk losing out on this invaluable human capital.

It's a gap that urgently needs to be addressed to secure not just the future of our future leaders, but also the long-term sustainability of our businesses and economies.

Here are some methods to address the generation gap and foster age diversity in the learning and development process:

  • Implement cross-generational mentorship programmes by pairing older employees with young members
  • Encourage mixed age group team projects
  • Update training materials that are suitable for all age groups
  • Flexible learning platforms between traditional and digital methods

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Randstad offers unparalleled value by providing services that steer you towards achieving an equitable organisation enriched with a diverse workforce. We're here to help you arm your future workforce with exceptionally skilled talent.

Reach out to our specialised consultants for the latest talent trends or want to know more about the latest market insights. Through market mapping and conversations with our clients and candidates, we can inform you of the latest workforce and HR trends so you can develop actionable strategies to attract and retain talent.

A growth mindset is a key characteristic of modern workers who are fuelling the future workforce. If you are a job seeker looking for a better work-life balance and career growth opportunities apply for a job in our job listings and achieve your professional goals.

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