The worldwide pandemic in early 2020 was a major disruptor in numerous social and economic aspects. The need for social distancing and accelerated hygiene requirements and the rapid transition to remote work created an emerging digital transformation. With many jobs rapidly diminishing and becoming obsolete, as well as new and evolving jobs emerging, the need for reskilling workforces has become apparent and urgent.
By 2022, the occupations emerging today are expected to grow by up to 27%, while jobs that are going obsolete are decreasing at even greater percentages. That means an expected increase of 133 million new jobs for which new skills are needed. Workers in jobs that are becoming obsolete need reskilling to fill skills gaps and demands, creating opportunities for internal mobility and career transitions. Employers need to recognize the need for and importance of reskilling their workforces to aid internal mobility.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cites LinkedIn data that says the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a 20% increase in internal mobility. Recruiting budgets are expected to decrease and learning and development budgets will increase. Experts suggest that employers will move more from external hiring to workforce development through internal mobility programs and reskilling. Additionally, rather than external hiring, they predict more trends toward contingent workers and project-based cross-functional work to meet business needs.
These trends toward internal mobility are due to lower costs and a shorter hiring process. Focus on internal mobility also improves retention according to LinkedIn vice president Mark Lobosco. He cites LinkedIn data that shows that employees stay longer at companies with internal hiring than at those that don’t.
Lobosco predicts that the benefits of internal mobility will shift from current short-term use to meet needs during the pandemic. They will soon evolve into a corporate strategy that merges HR and learning and development for strong internal mobility initiatives.
In addition, Lobosco says that workforce reskilling for recruiters saw a jump due to COVID-19. Recruiters took advantage of pandemic conditions to upgrade skills such as virtual interviewing, remote working productivity, virtual onboarding, social recruiting, and talent advising.
Talent acquisition (TA) tech vendors are scrambling to meet the demand for reskilling created by the pandemic and economic fallout, according to global analyst Josh Bersin. Today’s talent marketplace has evolved into a vehicle to let people promote their career development. It’s providing tools, mentors, and learning, through management of the entire workforce development process. Bersin believes the entire people management process falls into the talent management platform model.
Bersin says matching people to opportunities in reskilling for internal mobility is not a simple proposition. It involves a lot of moving parts that the talent marketplace has stepped in to fill, including career management, social networking, and recruiting systems combined. TA vendors are rapidly developing important parts of internal mobility strategies. These include factors such as skills assessment and readiness, job analysis and structure, and creating incentives for managers to release employees for internal moves.
Many TA vendors have transitioned from candidate/job matching systems to internal mobility to provide internal recruitment systems. Skills assessment against job and competency models, AI-based skills matching tools, capability testing systems, and learning systems are all integrated with TA vendors solutions for internal mobility that Bersin describes as the "future of talent management."
Internal mobility and skills-matching have quickly become urgent workforce development needs for businesses because of the pandemic. Reskilling ties into these business needs by optimizing an existing workforce with engagement and time and cost savings to reduce or eliminate the looming skills gap. Employee engagement and retention with the career development opportunities that reskilling creates is more effective than outside hiring.
Reskilling facilitates the effective placement of the right people in the right roles within the company to meet business needs. It retains employee experience and knowledge of the business while improving and providing new skills needed for new and emerging roles, tasks, projects, and business initiatives. Existing employees have an advantage over outside hires with knowledge and experience of the organization’s processes, customers, systems, services, and internal programs worth retaining.
Learning and development have become an important component in candidates' job search. It’s a big bonus for both sides when employers take an interest in what skills their employees are interested in gaining or improving. They are starting a conversation by asking, and they partner with employees in the workforce development the company needs. Employers like CVS Health, Marriott, and Goodwill Southern California recognize the need for reskilling and have programs for training and online education.
Josh Bersin comments that most companies already have lots of mobility within business functions like IT, HR, and marketing. But when it’s opened up across functions and business units, it improves the business overall. Internal mobility brings deep expertise throughout the business and creates new insights and opportunities. However, Bersin cautions that it shouldn’t be just random movement – it must be a strategic initiative with the right tools and platforms to manage, monitor, and plan mobility.
TA vendors are including learning management systems or learning experience platforms with skills and job matching processes to create richer, more robust programs for the internal mobility that both employers and employees need. Employers can address skills gaps and employee career development needs with internal mobility initiatives that provide reskilling and skills-matching.