There’s no doubt that the job market is changing. Gone are the days of learning how to do one job, sticking with it for 40 years and retiring with a desirable pension. In 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers hold a job for an average of 4.2 years before moving on. And 35% of workplace skills in all industries are expected to change by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum.
New technological developments continue to make certain roles in the workplace obsolete. Because these innovations are inevitable, the conversation is turning to training workers so that their skills remain relevant. At the 2016 World Economic Forum, a key takeaway was that learning environments would need to change — and advances in technology could hold the key.
Workers have recognized the need to remain up-to-date, and according to Pew Research Center’s “The State of American Jobs” survey, 87% of employees are looking to learn new skills and hone the ones they have in order to remain competitive in the workplace. With technology disrupting that process, the good news is that it’s going to get easier to keep up with those steep learning curves. Here are three important job-training trends:
1. The Death Of Workplace Classrooms
Kevin Young, head of SkillSoft EMEA, explains that the benefits of seminars and in-person teaching opportunities don’t justify the cost: “To put it simply, sending half your workforce across the country to attend a training course just does not make business sense,” he wrote in ComputerWeekly. “We instinctively think human-to-human contact is needed to teach — but as a result of technology we can now do much of this virtually, using video links, virtual role plays, augmented reality and simulations.”
Most people have been educated in person their entire lives, and this habit can be hard to break. With new advances in technology, however, employees can refresh their skills virtually. Remote learning also has the benefit of taking place anywhere and at any time, catering to the busy schedules of all professionals.
2. The Rise Of AI And Machine Learning
While AI will inevitably replace many jobs, it will also serve to educate employees to take on their next challenges. Christopher Pappas, expert in training management software and founder of the online resource eLearning Industry, explains in a blog post how technology and virtual training will change education: “The system will be able to predict every eventuality and desired outcome in a matter of seconds, then deliver eLearning content that caters to online learners’ individual needs, preferences, goals and areas for improvement.”
One of the many ways technology can improve employee skills is by providing eLearning feedback that detects patterns in performance with charts and statistics and steers students in the right direction — all without requiring them to hire a professional coach.
3. Ongoing Training Over Single-Event Training
Like all skills, professional qualifications require upkeep to stay fresh and relevant. “Workers who earned professional qualifications many years ago know how important it is to refresh and use that learning, or it gradually becomes less useful,” training expert Shelagh Dillonsays. “Just as the muscles of a bodybuilder need to be worked constantly to keep them in shape, so, too, do employees need to use what they have learned and occasionally revise or update the training.”
The research journal Performance Improvement Quarterly published a study illustrating that a salesperson with training performs better and that this coaching can make up between 2.9 and 6.2% of the differences among employees. Especially when salespeople are paid commission, this difference can quickly add up, incentivizing employees to keep their skills sharp by accessing training materials regularly.
One of the most rewarding aspects of a career is personal development. Learning new skills and mastering the ones needed for success keep a job interesting and entertaining, and while it has always been important, it’s becoming increasingly imperative.
As the job market continues to evolve, workers need to ensure they remain employable. Fortunately, changing technologies can help. Barriers are being replaced with gateways, giving more workers access to lucrative skills and knowledge.