Lisa Neuberger-Fernandez
Managing Director, Strategy and Innovation
October 16, 2018

We Need to Skill All Levels for the Future of Work

Future Workforce

It’s well documented that intelligent technologies such as analytics, big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are rapidly reshaping work and redefining skills gaps across industries and geographies. Everyone will be impacted, but we find that the impact will not be evenly distributed.

Workers in entry-level or mid-career jobs where a high proportion of time is spent on routine, automatable activities will experience the biggest change.We posit a double disadvantage since workers in routine roles are also very likely to struggle to navigate the career and skilling transitions ahead.

In my recent LinkedIn post New Blueprint for an Inclusive Future of Work, I outline the mindset shifts that will be fundamental to navigate the career transitions ahead.

A practical blueprint
Our new report, Inclusive Future of Work: A Call to Action, takes a worker-centric approach to create a practical blueprint for a more inclusive future of work. Our research combines data and design—analysis of workforce surveys with more than 14,000 workers and 1,200 employers across 24 countries, ethnographic conversations with 60 workers, 30 expert interviews and economic modeling of employment data from National Statistics Offices, ILO, OECD and O*Net.

We find that 57 percent of workers in more routine roles—requiring only primary or secondary education—spend a significant portion of their time on automatable tasks, versus only 8 percent of workers in more complex roles.

On the other hand, workers in more complex roles are likely to spend most of their time on augmentable tasks—which means their roles will change and adapt to use new technologies as described extensively in Man + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI by Accenture’s Paul Daugherty and James Wilson.

Preparing for the skills revolution
Our blueprint for an inclusive future of work is made up of four sets of workforce interventions—what we call “solution spaces”—designed to envision new career pathways, expand access to relevant learning inside and outside of work, experience new roles to build work history and put new skills into practice and empower people to pursue lifelong learning and growth through mutual support, mentorship and peer-to-peer learning.

A skills gap for workers in routine roles makes building out these four solution spaces even more challenging. It’s Learning, Just not as we know it., research also compiled by Accenture, argues that workers need to cultivate the full range of skills, from technical and digital to complex reasoning, creativity, socio-emotional intelligence and sensory perception.

However, current education and corporate learning systems are not equipped to address the coming revolution in skills demand. The same can be said of most workforce development systems.

A call to action
For Accenture and our ecosystem, this is a call to action. Over the coming months, we will be activating workforce development organizations across sectors, funders and clients to design, develop and pilot solutions with us in the U.S. and U.K.

These pilots will serve as laboratories to test our new skilling framework. By establishing creative collaborations, testing new approaches and sharing best practices, we hope to take concrete steps to build a more inclusive future of work. Join us.

Contact our corporate citizenship team to learn more. And spark the conversation on social media: #InclusiveFutureOfWork.

Keep your skills fresh for the digital economy of the future. Find your fit with Accenture.

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