Even before the pandemic changed the nature of work as we know it by forcing employees to work from home, the United States, United Kingdom and other countries around the world faced a serious talent shortage, especially when it comes to digital skills like cybersecurity. Unfortunately, the skills shortage has only worsened and now, with the return of employees to the office, organizations need workers ready to meet the challenges of our increasingly digital world.
One of the ways in which companies can cope with the skills crisis is to upgrade the skills of their existing workers through online courses. At the same time, those who wish to change careers can use e-learning platforms as a means of upgrading themselves in order to be ready for the jobs of tomorrow. To learn more about the role that e-learning can play in bridging the technology skills gap, TechRadar Pro spoke with Leah Belsky, Coursera Company Manager.
How has the pandemic affected the technological skills gap?
From our 2021 Global Skills Report, the UK continued to lag behind in the global and EU rankings for data and technology skills, ranking 34th globally for proficiency in data skills and 47th globally for proficiency in data. mastery of technological skills.
Beyond technological skills, UK workers are also lagging behind in acquiring the skills needed to thrive in the remote working world. The UK only achieved 13% and 21% respectively in HR and communication skills, and the UK has an overall mastery of 29% in business skills, the lowest of any European country.
Has Coursera seen many people turn to e-learning platforms during the lockdown to use their time more productively?
We’ve worked with more universities, businesses and governments than ever to respond to the global skills crisis by increasing access and opportunities to high-quality online learning and well-paying distance jobs. We now have over 250 academic and industry partners, who help deliver over 5,200 job-relevant courses on Coursera.
Responding to the challenges of the job market – the double disruption caused by the pandemic and the growing influence of automation in the workplace – more and more people are looking to upgrade their skills. At Coursera, we’ve seen a significant increase in learner activity, including over five million new enrollments in the last quarter alone. The most popular courses among UK learners included ‘The science of well-being‘(Yale University),’Machine learning‘(Stanford University) and’Foundations: data, data everywhere‘(Google).
Can you tell us a bit about Coursera’s new assessment tool, LevelSets, and its benefits for learners?
The rapid digital transformation increases the urgency with which learners must acquire the skills in demand. However, the lack of time and the lack of orientation regarding professional development paths are major obstacles for learners. Offered as part of the Enterprise Enterprise Platform, LevelSets is a new assessment tool designed to help learners determine their current mastery of key business, technology, and data skills.
LevelSets will help motivate learners to enroll in recommended courses and allow them to develop professional skills faster. These assessments determine where training should begin and create a clear development path for learners with high-quality content that matches their skill goals.
Customers such as Fidelity, Ingka IKEA, Pfizer and Thermo Fisher Scientific are the first to adopt LevelSets. Initial data suggests that learners at these companies are three times more likely to enroll in a recommended course within one day of the LevelSet assessment. In addition, course completion rates increased by 66% among those who completed assessments.
How can companies motivate their existing employees and find new talent during the Great Resignation?
Many workers leave a company to take on new challenges. Leaders need to think about how they can deliver these challenges and growth opportunities in their current role so that employees don’t feel like they have to look for them elsewhere.
Developing the skills of workers to help them evolve their role within the company and create more opportunities for internal mobility is essential to avoid stagnation or boredom. In a rapidly changing workplace, remote working, and back-to-office transitions, there is also a growing need to help employees develop their strategy, change management and people skills as they move forward. advance in their careers and take on more leadership roles.
For example, organizations could help an IT support specialist develop human skills such as problem solving and organizational development, or empower them to complement their existing technical skills in related fields such as security engineering and computer networks.
What technological skills are most valued by online learners?
As AI’s presence in our lives grows, curious learners have sought to better understand its potential. So it’s no surprise that machine learning is our second most popular course among UK learners. In addition, Programming for all (Initiation to Python) was also popular, as learners seek to take advantage of the growing number of job opportunities that require programming skills.
Foundational skills such as corporate communication and digital literacy also enable workers to participate in increasingly global work environments that require high levels of interpersonal skills, and we are also seeing increased interest in these areas.
What advice would you give to those looking to upgrade or retrain in the tech industry?
Now is the time to retrain, especially for those looking to make the most of new opportunities in the tech industry. According to UK government research, the lack of skills in cybersecurity and data analytics means that the UK economy is urgently looking for new talent in these areas. There are many options online for further development, such as Coursera which offers courses in partnership with some of the world’s leading universities and organizations, with learning you can take at your own pace.
Findings from our Global Skills report indicate that the increase in adoption of courses that provide learners with access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including a path to digital jobs. entry level, will also be needed to facilitate large-scale conversion and accelerate economic recovery – in the UK and beyond.
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