Continuing education, the key to the future

To project into a future of growth, the only choice is a skills revolution to keep up with the times

Continuing education, the key to the future

As usual, the World Economic Forum of Davos anticipated the topics that will become the main objects of debate over the year. During the four-days conference held in early January, the hottest topic was that of leadership, as a priority issue to guarantee a prospective vision and a leading attitude in an ever-changing market. Indeed, the lack of a suitable leadership, holding the right skills , may become the greatest obstacle to economic growth.

The bet on skills
As regards this issue, the ManpowerGroup published the report “Skills Revolution”, underlining the importance of personal development and the need to adapt skills to the context, starting from the leaders who need to be responsible, ready to action and reactive at the same time in order to face a cultural change.

This is also true for organizations, which have the obligation to help their employees upskill, as well as individuals willing to project themselves into the future.

as we conceived it up to the present
is no longer befitting

Along this path, the digitization and automation processes taking place within the job market can, or even better have to, represent an opportunity.

The effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
From a survey conducted across 43 countries involving interviews with 18.000 employers, it appears that over 90% of the employers estimate that their company will be effected by the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the next two years. They consequently think that this will have an impact of the workers’ skills orienting them towards greater digitization, creativity, agility and learnability – the will to constantly update themselves and keep learning.

Italy is the country that estimates the largest increase of new jobs as a consequence of an upskilling process, expecting a growth ranging from 31% to 40%. The other countries expecting positive results are Portugal, Guatemala, Peru and Panama, followed by the United States, South Africa, Mexico and New Zealand, which foresee a growth ranging from 11% to 20%. The jobs that are going to benefit the most from the digitization occurring in the working context are those from the IT sector, Human Resources and Customer Facing, which are expected to increase the number of new employees by 26%, 20% and 15% respectively.

The role of leaders
Now it is down to all of us, leaders, companies and institutions to undertake educational paths dedicated to train new professions and/or review the existing ones – at least those which will not be replaced by automation. According to a report presented by McKinsey at the eve of the Forum, “60% of the current jobs will come to a point when 30% of the activities will be automated”. This will eventually happen over a few decades, but the direction is clear. The acceleration was generated by the very fast advances attained by artificial intelligence.

Nowadays, androids are not only used in the manufacturing industries but they are also going to be tested in human-centred fields such as medicine. The World Economic Forum was indeed the first important opportunity of 2017 to confront with the challenges we are about to face: the largest organizations in the world put on the table their reading keys, their answers, their social innovation strategies (from ethic finance to the development of talents), and their uncertainties. As Jonas Pricing declared “we can’t slow the rate of technological advance and globalization, the only thing we can do is to adapt to them”.

(Translation by Cecilia Braghin)


Stefano Scabbio

Stefano Scabbio Presidente Area Mediterranea, Europa del Nord e Orientale di ManpowerGroup e membro del Comitato esecutivo BAA dell’Università Bocconi con delega all’International Employability. Dal 2014 è alla presidenza di Assolavoro, l'Associazione Nazionale di Categoria delle Agenzie per il Lavoro (ApL)