GAN Global Board Member Representative, Bettina Schaller, Group SVP – Public Affairs of The Adecco Group shares her insights with us on anticipated trends and expectations from a workplace and skilling perspective.

We all know that reskilling and upskilling are important. We lose around 40% of our skills every three years, so our skills can become obsolete in as little as a decade. Meanwhile, the changing demands of employers mean that employees need to learn new skills – upskilling – to fill vacancies.

Career development is one of the top three priorities for employees, according to Adecco research that spanned 10 countries. And we know that, after the Covid-19 pandemic, 69% of workers say they want more digital upskilling.

But what can we expect to see in 2022 to promote more work-based learning? What trends are shaping reskilling and upskilling?

Learning accounts and micro-credentials

Within the EU, around 43% of the working-age population participates in training every year. The EU wants to make this 60% by 2030. At the end of 2021, the EU Commission published its proposals for Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs). The Commission describes these as “virtual wallets, established by national authorities, for every person of working age” and said that member states should set them up after consultation with social partners and other stakeholders.

Every adult legally residing in a member state should accumulate training entitlements during their career and use them as needed. The Commission emphasises the importance of cost-sharing in funding ILAs, with public authorities and employers both able to contribute to funding. As Adecco has argued in the past, it is important to ensure that ILAs are accessible to people in diverse forms of work, such as those in the gig economy, and target the skills in demand.

In the same proposal, the EU Commission also identified the importance of micro-credentials, small training credentials that can be complementary to traditional education and employer training systems. The Commission wants to establish a common standard so that their use can be strengthened. This is an important step because, as we have written before, bite-sized training on specific skills is becoming more useful than university degrees in some sectors.

Growing public-private partnerships

Of course, apprenticeships are another important avenue for skills development. In June, the International Labour Organization’s annual conference aims to develop a global standard for apprenticeships. This would be welcome since a regulatory gap has developed. The Adecco Group supports several apprenticeship schemes around the world, including the European Quality Charter on Internships and Apprenticeships that we co-developed with the European Youth Forum and signed in 2017. The Adecco Group was also part of the SPRINT project which developed an online self-assessment for employers to check the quality of their internships.

In addition, The Adecco Group is directly contributing to the expansion of apprenticeships to address skill gaps: last year, in France we recruited 7500 people through our specific apprenticeship solution, La grande école de l’alternance.

This is an example of the importance of public-private partnerships in upskilling and reskilling workers. In a white paper published at the end of January 2022, Community Reskilling, General Assembly argued that employer leadership on training must be paired with existing local organisations that are trusted by the people they serve. “The core tenet of community reskilling is that no organisation can, or should, go it alone,” the report says.

As well as having trust in the organisations involved in training, research shows that uptake and effectiveness of reskilling and upskilling are much higher when accompanied by career management services such as Adecco partner Lee Hecht Harrison.

Addressing the global skills gap

Though there are encouraging signs that governments, industry bodies and other groups are keen to develop solutions to the growing challenge of sector and job transformation, this is no easy task. The solutions will need to be long and costly if they are to be effective.

For example, though apprenticeships are a great option for skills development, in some countries they are open only to the young. This is the case in France, for example, where adult employees whose jobs are at risk of disappearing have limited options. ILAs can be a partial solution but they cover only short-term training.

France tried to address this with the Transitions Collectives (Transco) scheme to foster intersectoral transitions from declining to growing sectors, but its impact has been so far very limited, largely because of its administrative complexity. The scheme has been recently simplified by the Government with hopefully some first results in 2022. Every country in the world is going to be affected by the skills gap, so reskilling and upskilling must be a priority.

In January 2020, as part of the WEF’s Reskilling Revolution Initiative, the Adecco Group pledged to train 5 million people by 2030. The Group’s engagement in the Global Apprenticeship Network is an important commitment to reach that goal. It takes a true multi-stakeholder collaborative effort, and importantly the appropriate regulatory frameworks, to shift the needle in bringing more skilling solutions to people.