Skilling, reskilling, upskilling and new skilling: Concepts for Latin America’s transformation post COVID

28, October

By Martín Padulla for staffingamericalatina We have long been convinced that we cannot separate education from ...

By Martín Padulla for staffingamericalatina

We have long been convinced that we cannot separate education from work. The knowledge economy demands an intimate relationship between both disciplines. Some of us are even working on hybridization projects between both concepts.
Development in the 21st century seems to be a consequence of the good business climate that a city, a country or a region can offer and the relevant talent it is able to produce.
Alain Dehaze, CEO of Adecco Group alerted us last year that we lose 40% of our skills every 3 years; this means that in a decade we reach obsolescence. The executive introduces a key factor in the analysis: the speed needed to achieve employability in people and competitiveness in organizations.
The need for frequent reinvention and higher levels of digital education are essential to access today’s jobs.
How to address this reality? How to rebuild a framework that was seriously affected by political decisions of strict quarantines and class suspensions? How to reverse a context of school dropouts? How to be closer to young people and not so much affected by the consequences of a pandemic? Does the educational system as we know it contain the necessary content to be able to provide the necessary content to be able to access the jobs today? Does it provide the necessary content to be able to develop in the labor market? What about the labor market? Do the regulatory frameworks reflect the reality of the dynamics of 21st century work? Have they been reconverted through new sets of portable rights that allow for modern labor trajectories? Are they inclusive or do they exclude millions of citizens in the region?
More than 80% of organizations report a skills gap and expect it to be even wider in the future. No one doubts that it is essential to work on massive skilling processes. No one in the region seems to disagree with the need to develop a strategy to mitigate the consequences of school suspensions, school dropouts, mental health problems and skills shortages that the pandemic will leave us with. This is not an education issue or a labor issue, it is a social phenomenon that transcends both disciplines and requires a comprehensive multi-stakeholder approach.
Reskilling is the formation of an entirely new set of skills that allows for a completely different role. Amazon, for example, last year began a retraining program for 100,000 workers.
Upskilling refers to the improvement of knowledge or skills, it is a concept that has to do with the deepening and specialization to assume roles of higher level of complexity.
New skilling has to do with the need for continuous learning in high-demand skills. To achieve this, obviously, it is necessary to know them, to relieve them.
New skills for today’s jobs and new skills for the jobs of the future. Transversal skills (soft) and technical skills (hard). A map of knowledge applied to the productive world.
The Employability Observatory being developed in Ecuador is an important step in the right direction towards the essential transformation for the post-COVID world. Cities and countries compete for productive investments; without supporting information to operate and transform, they cannot drive one of the two key variables for development, which is to create more and better relevant talent.
What about a good business climate? As far as the structure of the labor market is concerned, we are evidently witnessing social pressures to reform. The voices that refer to the past come from there and seek to operate on a reality that no longer exists. We are witnessing some very interesting social phenomena in which the rift is generational. The new generations want to live in freedom, with flexibility and work that way. When asked about the way they want to work, only 5% want to work in person next year. The remaining 95% want to work 100% remotely, 50% remotely and 50% face-to-face or define with flexibility. Diverse ways of working, flexible working careers, need for new skills training during transitions….
However, it is necessary to create new legal environments aimed at flexicurity, career development assistance under different forms of work associated with rights, to think a world of work away from informality, with public-private articulation for the training of skills based on demand and rapid access to the formal labor market.

Some analysts have called this month Striketober for the gig economy due to multiple demonstrations or strikes in different cities around the world. At the same time, in other latitudes, initiatives to rethink pension systems for a post-COVID world of work are being promoted. Meanwhile, workertechs are being developed to provide benefits to platform workers who cannot obtain them through the law. Systems creak.

The region needs to move forward on a 21st century agenda to settle the debts of the past that were compounded by decisions made during the pandemic.

Many countries in the region have legislative or presidential elections this year. Citizens have the power to elect those who can read reality, rise to the occasion and act accordingly.