Reskilling to Survive: 3 Industries Embracing Change in the Digital Era

elev8 - 4 min read

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How are the media, manufacturing, and finance industries related to each other? They are all facing a reskilling emergency. 

As the world encounters the transformative economic, social, and technological challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it has never been more important to invest in reskilling your employees. 

Here’s how three traditional industries embraced change to massively reskill their workforces and remain relevant in the digital economy.  

Reskilling in manufacturing  

Since so much of manufacturing is based on production chains made up of individual, often repetitive, tasks, it makes sense that this sector would be among the first to see widespread technological integration. In fact, more than 50% of duties within the manufacturing sector can be at least partially automated, as McKinsey found in a recent study.  

As a result, the people who fill these laborious, physical roles must be rapidly reskilled and upskilled to be able to operate the machines replacing them on the factory floor.  

“Technology adoption will play a key role in empowering employees, attracting new talent, filling skills gaps as they arise, and enabling new hybrid workflows. Manufacturers cannot afford to stay stagnant as the major trends reshape workforces across all sectors,” Saar Yoskovitz, CEO of Augury, a US-based digital machine health company says. 

A recent Censuswide survey supports this statement. After surveying4,000 manufacturing employees in the UK, the authors found that 80% of respondents want to reskill and upskill in 2022, with IT skills ranking highest among their interests.  

Reskilling in media 

Due to the encroachment of personal media devices and high-speed internet, the landscape for large-scale media companies has been especially dynamic since the turn of the millennium. 

In fact, more than a third of 350 senior media and entertainment executives from around the world said in an EY survey that without reskilling and reinvention, their company won’t exist in five years:  

“Thirty-three percent of media executives identify talent management as one of the greatest drivers of change in their business, ranking higher than competition, technology disruption or even changing customer expectations.”  

AT&T is a shining example of both staying power and flexibility since it has survived and thrived in the wake of emerging companies like Netflix that hit the ground running regarding mobile and internet services. A few years ago, the company initiated a massive reskilling effort after discovering that nearly half of its 250,000 employees lacked the necessary skills such as data science, cybersecurity, agile project management, and computer science needed to keep the organization competitive.  

“The discovery presented AT&T with two daunting options – we could go out and try to hire all these software and engineering people or we could try to reskill our existing workforce so they could be competent in the technology and the skills required to run the business going forward,” explains Bill Blase, senior executive vice president of human resources as quoted by CNBC. 

Over the last decade, AT&T’s business has been changing rapidly, moving from a voice network to a data network, from hardware to the cloud, and from a landline business to a mobile-first enterprise.  

Adding to its ability to entertain the world, social media now also represents the leading space for digital marketing, and skills that pertain to this field are among those in highest demand in 2022. Marketing Week found in 2021 that eight of the top 10 skills in demand after the pandemic were related to digital and social media marketing, including expertise in ad serving, analytics, web content writing, and e-commerce.  

Reskilling in finance 

Among financial institutions, JP Morgan is one of the most long-lived and part of the reason for this is its ability to recognize, adapt to, and set emerging trends. 

In March 2019 JP Morgan declared its intention to more than double its investment in skilling future workersadding an additional $350 million to the already existing $250 million budget. The skills of greatest priority to financial houses like JP Morgan are consistent across the field with cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) programming, and blockchain leading the pack. 

In a 2021 report, McKinsey found that cloud computing had the potential to increase infrastructure cost efficiency by over 25% and the effectiveness of widespread cloud computing applications relies on AI integration as well as direct computing knowledge.  

A BIS (Bank for International Settlements) survey in the same year showed around 60% of central banks were testing or studying Central Bank Digital Currency— the integrity of which is almost entirely dependent on blockchain technology.  

“The new world of work is about skills, not necessarily degrees…Unfortunately, too many people are stuck in low-skill jobs that have no future and too many businesses cannot find the skilled workers they need,” Jamie Dimon, chairperson and CEO, JP Morgan Chase & Co, says. 

We need a reskilling revolution 

The economy of this century will be defined by change on an unprecedented scale and given the increasing acceleration of technological progress, this change will be increasingly difficult to anticipate and prepare for. 

As a result, the most important skill we can now adopt is the ability to learn quickly and apply our learning effectively, i.e., specifically. Skilling initiatives will allow you to respond to changing market conditions and emerging needs rapidly, as opposed to hoping that either the current talent pool has the knowledge you need or that the existing skills of your workforce can cope as market conditions shift. 

If you’d like to be a leader in the reskilling revolution, we can help. Explore our site and find out how elev8 helps governments and companies in their reskilling journeys.