Modern workplaces are evolving rapidly, driven by digital technology, the growth of the gig economy, and the rising value of social capital in individual consumption patterns. It is no longer enough that companies compete in the global marketplace. They are increasingly expected to behave ethically, actively engage their customers, and weed out bad actors before they can tarnish the brand. Indeed, the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer reported that 56% of people worldwide trust businesses “to do what is right,” versus just 47% who trust their governments.
These rapid changes have caused a boom in employee education. Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s 2018 Digital Business Global Executive Study and Research Project, which surveyed 4,300 executives and professionals from around the world, found that 90% think they need to update their skills at least annually, and 44% see development as a year-round exercise.
At the same time, the growing proportion of workers in atypical work arrangements, such as contract, freelance, part-time, and gig work, means that more and more people are left out of existing training models. Managing external talent segments and optimizing the workforce ecosystem will require new ways of thinking about training and development. Autonomous learning has the potential to address some of these issues, with employee-managed individual training accounts that receive contributions from both employers and government, and externally inspected micro-credentials to guarantee skill portability.
The EF English Proficiency Index is the world’s largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills and it offers a snapshot of current average English skills in the global workforce. The latest EPI report shows that many working professionals do not have a sufficient mastery of English to be fully productive in their current roles or to evolve into new ones. Those charged with employee training and development must take a strategic view of the English proficiency requirements in each function and for each individual within their organization.