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Post-Pandemic Work Series: Finding Value in Digital Upskilling

Digital Upskilling

Upskilling has become a global business and societal priority that’s critical to the post-pandemic economic recovery, PwC’s Julia Lamm, Partner, told attendees during the fourth session of the Council’s Post-Pandemic Workforce Series, presented in partnership with PwC and hosted by the Human Resources Committee.

Lamm – presenting with Meg Connelly, Manager, People & Organizations – said businesses are on the precipice of massive economic opportunity with upskilling.

“Wide-scale investment in upskilling has the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030,” Lamm said.

PwC data indicates that the biggest value will be found in regions and economies where skills gaps are larger and skills augmentation efforts align with new technology.

“An investment in skills is an investment towards future roles. It’s really important to think about the role of businesses, as well as the role of government in society investing in the skills gap.”

Julia Lamm, Pwc

According to PwC research, upskilling can be an effective way to reshape the workforce and could lead to creation of 5.3 million new jobs by 2030. Lamm and Connelly said COVID-19 and the focus on ESG has accelerated the need for action.

PwC’s survey of more than 32,000 workers around the world found that 77% are ready to learn new skills or completely retrain and that 80% are confident they can adapt to new technologies entering their workplace. Nearly half (48%) believe adaptable skills are important because traditional employment won’t be around in the future.

Results of PwC’s CEO Survey and findings from the World Economic Forum make a compelling case for upskilling, Lamm and Connelly said. They identified three key areas:

  • Financial demands — 79% of chief financial officers plan to implement cost containment measures, and 66% of company executives believe profitability will suffer if they don’t transform quickly enough.
  • Job disruption — 79% of business leaders are concerned with key skills as 85 million jobs will be disrupted by technology and 133 million new jobs will emerge.
  • Recruiting and retention — 50% of workers will need upskilling in the next five years, but only 18% of companies have made “significant progress” in establishing an upskilling program.

The Post-Pandemic Workforce Series concludes June 8 with a discussion of Ways of Working (Real Estate & Collaboration) with PwC’s Sid Bhatia. Register now for the event.

Post-Pandemic Workforce Series

For more information about becoming involved with the Council’s HR Committee, contact COO Molly Determan.


Kevin Broom, Director Communications and Research, writes about the Council’s sector-specific best practices and leadership. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.
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