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Most HR leaders say half of workers will need reskilling in coming years

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About 90% of HR leaders believe up to half of their workforce will need to be reskilled in the next five years, according to a Jan. 23 report from PeopleScout and Spotted Zebra.

However, only 7% noted an active investment in their reskilling programs, and 45% said they had no plans to undertake a workforce transformation initiative to prepare for the changing skills landscape.

“Skills-based talent strategies are essential, and the clock is ticking for employers across all regions and industries,” Nick Shaw, founder and chief customer officer of Spotted Zebra, an HR tech company, said in a statement.

“Without future-focused skills strategies for both hiring and development, organizations will suffer lost revenue and productivity when critical jobs are left unfilled,” he said.

In a survey of more than 100 senior HR and talent acquisition leaders, 80% said their top workforce challenge is recruiting skilled talent, followed by retaining key personnel and upskilling current employees. 

Talent shortages seemed to be the most widespread in education, hospitality, healthcare, technology and manufacturing, according to the report. Skills gaps and talent shortages are most severe in areas related to automation, AI adoption and the green economy.

In particular, technology adoption is driving the need for reskilling, according to the report. About 50% of HR leaders said job roles at their organization would transform due to shifts in required skills, yet 34% of employers lack plans for workforce adoption of automation and AI.

In addition, half of HR leaders said they lacked an understanding of skills-based talent practices, which would aid in hiring for these skills.

Although learning and development needs are growing, L&D efforts may not be moving fast enough, according to a LinkedIn report. About 40% of companies are still in the early stages of building an upskilling program, and 54% are in the middle stages of developing and activating their programs.

A large percentage of recent L&D investment seems to be in AI-related training, according to a Udemy report. The company noted a 60% increase in AI training during the past year, as well as major jumps in leadership development topics such as communication, emotional intelligence and digital transformation.

Workers say they want a skills-first approach and would stay longer at a company focused on skills, according to a report from EY and iMedia. However, integrating skills data in HR processes remains a key challenge for HR objectives such as career pathing and internal mobility.

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