What Upskilling Means for Workforce Diversity

Written by | Design & Art, Featured, Upskill

It’s easy to imagine digital transformation as a trend in a vacuum, one mainly concerned with how we can make workplaces more efficient, productive and engaged. We like to believe technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will minimize the rote aspects of day-to-day work, giving people more leeway to focus on the things they do best.

The reality is more complicated. As it has for decades, technology will continue to reshape the way we work, pushing employees in every industry to rapidly adopt new skill sets or risk being left behind. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an estimated 1.37 million workers will be displaced from their jobs in the next decade, with the cost of preparing them for new roles totaling $34 billion.

But upskilling employees isn’t just a matter of viability in the job market. It’s an opportunity for businesses to promote diversity and equity across their workforce, particularly in fields where women and minorities are historically underrepresented. The gap is especially prominent in the tech sector, where Black and Latinx employees respectively make up 7.4% and 8% of the workforce.

The issue cuts both ways—organizations like the National Institute of Standards and Technology have noted that a lack of appropriate training and career counseling makes it harder for manufacturing employers to fill thousands of positions. But as the skills shortage continues to expand, upskilling and educational initiatives among underrepresented and disadvantaged populations can level the playing field for career growth while creating a pipeline of talent in areas like AI, cloud engineering and cybersecurity.

“Businesses must cast their net wide and make sure women and people of color get the opportunities they need,” says Catherine Keating, CEO of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, in Salesforce’s Make Change series. “In leading the women’s initiative network at our company, we have opted to provide more trainings, more focused reviews and a direct feedback loop to help our people build a skill set that will enable them to progress as rapidly as anybody in our industry.”

Keating and BNY Mellon have looked outward as well as in, supporting upskilling efforts in underserved communities as part of the business’ corporate philanthropy initiative. In 2019, more than 20,000 of its employees volunteered or donated money to the program, with contributions totaling $8.3 million.

Source: https://partners.wsj.com/salesforce/make-change-elevating-women/understanding-the-upskilling-imperative/

Last modified: 03/01/2022

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