Category Archives: Career Management

Careers and Learning: a New Reality

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This, from Kelly, really hits the nail on the head:  “The last two decades have radically altered the way skills are acquired and developed. Skills are no longer “front-end loaded” onto a career. Rather, they are characterized by lifelong development and renewal. Most skill sets have a finite life.”

Skills are no longer “front-end loaded” onto a career.

But who recognizes this really? Employers who lament that they can’t find the skills they need in the workforce? Students who report being less than adequately prepared to enter the economy? Unemployed workers who can’t connect to a new employer?

Most skill sets have a finite life.

This has never been truer than today – and the “lives” will be getting shorter and shorter.

In their recent Global Workforce Index™ report, Career Development and Upskilling, Kelly looks at survey data from 120,000 people (workers, presumably) in 31 countries and has some very interesting data to share.

For example, most workers believe they are proficient in critical “soft skills” but Bilingual skills, Leadership/initiative and Creativity/innovation were all seen as needing development. Employees believe this of their skill sets. And most business leaders would not argue with these areas of deficit. Of note, however, is the belief on the part of employees that they have good mastery over the most critical “soft skills.” If true, perhaps learning budgets (such as they are) could be better deployed. If untrue, some challenging performance conversations need to be held!

Kelly Global Workforce Index April 2013 Critical SkillsOf course, in terms of the skills gap, most attention is being paid to STEM workers.  Interestingly, these workers believe that their proficiencies in the most important skills sets of Analytical/critical thinking, Evaluation, analysis and troubleshooting, and Complex problem solving are solid (no lack of self-esteem in this group). Where they might need development are in the more complex technical side of things: systems, computer, software and mathematics, calculations, measurement and monitoring.

Kelly Global Workforce Index April 2013 Critical STEM SkillsIf lifelong learning really is the reality, then self-driven learning will be key.

And if self-driven learning is key, then a realistic assessment of current skill levels and actual skill gaps will be critical. For everyone:  employers, employees, learning providers – everyone!

These observations based on their survey responses seem common sense and almost obvious. Almost. I think most business leaders – and HR professionals in particular – would agree with Kelly that skills are no longer front-end loaded onto careers. They’d also agree that most skills have a shelf life.

But it doesn’t appear that we’re approaching the answers to the skills gap as a systemic shift in the nature of careers. We’re approaching it as a simple supply vs. demand dynamic – if we approach it at all. Perhaps this data can shift the conversation and approach to a more useful and motivating discussion:  the nature of careers has shifted and so the nature of education and employment needs to shift as well.

Then we might make actual progress in addressing the perceived mismatch between the jobs available and the skills in the existing talent pool.

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Filed under Career Management, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Data, Kelly Global workforce Index, Kelly OCG, Skills Gap, STEM

Your EVP May Not Be Enough

According to some new data from the folks at Kelly OCG, employees all over the world are planning their work lives in dramatically new ways.  In their white paper, The Autonomous and Empowered Workforce, data from the Kelly Global Workforce Index™ is presented using compelling visuals.

The graphic below is pretty interesting and sums up much of the data in the white paper.  The highlights are:

  • Less than a third of employees believe their career will benefit from remaining with their current employer
  • More than half favor a constant state of employment motion when considering career growth and skills development

The fine points of what today’s employees think about the future of their careers according to KellyOCG include:

  • 49% are always on the lookout for new opportunities
  • 70% think multiple employers are an asset
  • 53% favor changing employers to advance their career
  • 54% feel they are in a position of high demand
  • 69% think they’ll secure a similar or better position

From an employee engagement and retention perspective, it is interesting that employees in the Americas seem to be trailing behind employees in EMEA and APAC as it relates to the relevance of a career-for-life, with 49% of employees in the Americas agreeing that a career-for-life with one employer is relevant.  Only 29% of APAC and 21% of EMEA employees see that relevance. So hanging on to employees in APAC and EMEA is already harder than hanging on to employees in the Americas.

But for how long?

Compare that to the finding that 65% of employees in the Americas consider work experience with multiple employers to be an asset and we can imagine that the career-for-life relevance may be exiting stage left before the end of the second act.

Certainly as you read the Kelly Global Workforce Index™ you’ll find lots of interesting dots to connect that may impact the work you do in 2013 to strengthen your EVP (Employee Value Proposition).  But this data are clear that there is a shift coming more rapidly than many may think.  A shift to job changing as a proactive career management strategy as opposed to job changing as a reactive crisis coping response.

If true, this is big.  And impacts everything from talent acquisition strategies, to onboarding processes, to rewards/recognition programs, to learning and development offerings, to performance management systems and more.

If true, this is big. Really big.

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Filed under Career Management, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Employee Value Proposition, EVP, HR Data, Kelly Global workforce Index, Kelly OCG, Talent Management