Reskilling Revolution: Preparing 1 billion people for tomorrow’s economy

The impact of the reskilling revolution.

This article is republished from the World Economic Forum   under a Creative Commons license.

More than 350 million people around the world are being reached by the Forum’s Reskilling Revolution platform since it was launched in January 2020. The ambitious programme is preparing the global workforce with the skills needed to future-proof their careers, as technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) enable greater automation.

At the heart of the initiative is a longstanding commitment from over 64 CEOs who understand how a skilled and motivated workforce will provide benefits for all stakeholders and the planet.

By working together with a growing network of 32 committed ministers in 16 countries, the Reskilling Revolution has mobilized a multistakeholder community of over 350 organizations. Founding members include: The Adecco Group, Coursera, Dubai Cares, The Education Commission, the Government of France, iamtheCODE, Infosys, The Lego Foundation, LinkedIn, ManpowerGroup, PwC, Salesforce and UNICEF.

More widely, this community includes business members, chief learning officers, online learning providers, labour unions, NGOs, education practitioners and philanthropic organizations. Education and skills-focused public-private partnerships have been launched in countries such as South Africa, Bahrain, Pakistan and Cambodia, with additional economies such as Finland and Singapore serving as knowledge partners to share global best practices.

This growing global network of economies dedicated to closing skills and education gaps connect through the Reskilling Revolution platform to augment each other’s efforts and share unique and customizable approaches.

What’s the challenge?

Technological change, the COVID-19 pandemic and the green transition pose great risks to people’s livelihoods. Indeed, the Future of Jobs Report 2020 indicates that by 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal. Urgent investment in human capital is therefore needed to create a fairer world by ensuring people are given the chance to fulfil their potential and thrive.

The OECD estimates that 1.1 billion jobs are liable to be radically transformed by technology in the next decade. The Forum predicts an overall net positive between job growth and decline. However, if current trends continue, outdated learning programmes will further exacerbate the skills mismatch in the future.

Only 0.5% of global GDP is invested toward adult lifelong learning. This is while Forum research done in collaboration with PwC shows that investment in reskilling and upskilling of the current global workforce has the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030, while investing in future-ready education for today’s generation of school children could add an addition $2.54 trillion over the same period.

Our approach to reskilling.

The Forum has built the Reskilling Revolution platform around a three-pronged approach to create tangible impact: sourcing commitments, co-creating solutions and connecting stakeholders.

The plan aims to drive impact through the activation of several areas:

  • New financing agenda
  • Revitalized policy instruments
  • Innovative standards of business leadership
  • Comprehensive measurements and metrics
  • Faster delivery mechanisms
  • New content of skills

The initiative’s roadmap for 2023-2024 includes accelerating reskilling and upskilling around the world, as well as promoting skills-based labour markets. By closing skills gaps, the initiative aims to reach at least 300 million workers and adult learners.

In addition, the Reskilling Revolution will position education at the core of the economic recovery by updating teaching and education systems so they effectively prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s economy and society. This work aims to benefit at least 150 million students and young learners by 2024.

Since the Forum activated the Reskilling Revolution in Bahrain in 2020, for example, there have been over 50 touchpoints including expert meetings, focus groups and steering committee meetings to co-create a country-level action plan for closing skills gaps. Between 2020-2021 these collaborations have led to 1,879 employees benefiting from upskilling and over 13,400 jobseekers upskilled. Additionally, over 43,000 students have been reached through work-readiness projects.

Get involved.

The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society is the global secretariat for the Reskilling Revolution. The Centre aims to advance prosperous, inclusive and equitable economies and societies. Working together, stakeholders deepen their understanding of complex issues, shape new models and standards and drive scalable, collaborative action for systemic change.

Leading global companies and international, civil society and academic organizations currently work through the Centre for the New Economy and Society to promote new approaches to competitiveness; deploy education and skills for tomorrow’s workforce; build a new pro-worker and pro-business agenda for jobs; and integrate equality and inclusion into the new economy.

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