What are the new skills people will need for the future of work?
The way we work is changing at the fastest rate since the industrial revolution in the 18th century. According to the World Economic Forum Report 2021, the average skill has a lifespan of just 2.5 years, and we expect to see 40% of core skills change over the next five years.
We’re now working in a landscape where our tools and processes have become ever more reliant on digital technology, and as a result businesses around the world need people with the right skills to help meet their customers rapidly changing needs. It’s crucial that businesses and employees – no matter what their role or how seniority – ensure that they have the skills in place to meet these changes, or risk getting left behind.
With this in mind, this learning at work week we explore what upskilling is and why digital skills are so crucial no matter your role; how continuous learning at work is vital for the success of both employees and businesses; and what we think are the most important skills of the future to ensure that businesses – and their people – stay relevant.
What are the skills that people will need for the workplace of the future?
Every role has its own unique needs and expertise, but the wider landscape of skills that are becoming more in-demand is always shifting. While it doesn’t mean that other skills aren’t important, there is a clear trend emerging of the types of skills that will be in high demand when it comes to the future of work:
- Digital literacy – of course coding, AI and digital security services are all vital, but the importance of digital skills extend far beyond just the tech roles. Increased remote and hybrid working means that people need to know how to use technology to effectively collaborate with their colleagues, and digital skills will now underpin every sort of job. We’ve seen this shift in real time, as over the past decade whole departments have been created to managing companies’ social media channels – something that was once considered to be the realm of interns or side of desk projects, but that has now become a vital part of many businesses’ overall communication strategies and risk management. As new technologies (such as AI) become more prevalent in the workplace, we might see the emergence of whole new roles (or even departments) that incorporate this tech into a business’s day-to-day operation.
- Data and Analytics – data is one of the most important assets a company has, but businesses need the right people in place to be able to interpret it accurately, generate insights, make recommendations and to translate the data to stakeholders in a meaningful way. This goes far beyond just understanding the numbers as skills like creativity, data visualisation and effective communication all play an important role in interpreting both the value and limitations of data.
- Communication – the ability to communicate effectively also remains vital. Being able to convey complex ideas and translate information effectively, both internally and to external stakeholders – and potential customers – is crucial, so that the right message reaches its intended audience. This type of effective communication and the ability to tell an engaging story and create a relatable narrative can help build trust in an organisation – both among the people working there and from customers – and differentiate it from other companies in the market.
- Resilience – building a culture of resilience can help people understand and embrace new technology. Change can often be overwhelming and scary for people who aren’t used to it, but this culture of curiosity can be fostered through a continuous learning approach where employees are encouraged to always learn, build their skillsets and try new things. It can also ensure that people don’t feel stagnant in their jobs, and can improve workplace wellbeing.
Apprenticeships and developing new skills
It’s also worth mentioning that, for those just starting out on their career journeys, an apprenticeship is a great way to get paid while developing essential skills, gaining qualifications and working in a meaningful role that helps us be the best bank for our customers.
And for those looking for a career change, an apprenticeship is an opportunity to learn new skills and embark on exciting new challenges too. We’ve delivered apprenticeships for more than ten years, and can help build careers through a range of opportunities from intermediate to masters-degree level and from finance and accountancy, to advanced technology such as cyber security.
We also understand that returning to work from a long time away can be challenging, but those returning should feel confident enough to continue developing in their career. That’s why our Returners Programme has hired more than 140 people into leadership roles. The programme is ideal for those returning to work after maternity leave or a career break of at least 18 months, who are looking for a permanent job opportunity and want to develop their skills in the UK’s biggest digital bank.
What are we doing – and how are we supporting our own people to develop new skills?
With the backdrop of a global skills shortage while recruitment is still a key part of how Lloyds Banking Group addresses our skills gap, we know it’s not the sole solution. Upskilling and reskilling of our existing people plays an important role, and we’re creating a workplace where that focus on skills with learning sits front and centre.
It’s of such great importance to us that we’ve recently launched a Reskilling team, who will be helping our existing colleagues grow skills and develop their careers by offering a chance to reskill into different roles. The Reskilling team is completely focused on finding opportunities and offering training so that you can transition into a new role. So far, they have helped around 100 people find new roles and have high ambitions for the rest of the year too.
One of the most important aspects of learning is to hone an environment in the workplace that makes continuous learning a need to do, not just a nice to do. That’s why we’ve established a curriculum that offers a wide range of learning opportunities – from encouraging people to get involved inside of desk projects where they can learn news skills; providing mentoring and coaching programmes; and a groupwide network of learning champions helping to promote and encourage learning in teams right through the business, through to ‘drop everything and learn’ (DEAL) time once a week in some parts of our business too.
There’s compelling case for us as individuals and as a wider organisation to make sure we fully understand the skills we have today, and to recognise the skills we still need in order to grow our organisation for the future.
If we don’t have the right skills in the right parts of our business, we’ll hold ourselves back. It’s that simple. That’s why, here at Lloyds Banking Group, we firmly believe that when our people grow, our business grows too, and we can do more to help Britain prosper.
Andrea - Quality Engineer, Consumer Finance
I’ve been with the Group for nine years and spent that time in branch, first as a Banking Consultant to then becoming a Bank Manager. I really enjoyed these roles, being at the coal face, helping customers and working with and supporting some amazing colleagues. In October last year the whole branch network went through a restructure, and it opened my eyes to the many reskilling opportunities out there.
We were given time to attend calls run by colleagues in different areas of the business to really get a feel for their roles and what we could bring to them. I’d previously seen the Quality Engineer role on our internal jobs board but never had the confidence to apply for it, so this felt like a really exciting opportunity. It sounded completely different to my previous roles, testing software applications before they go live and becoming part of a huge network of people who are essentially the last line of defence.
My biggest fear was whether I was truly capable of this huge leap, and I spent a lot of time talking to people I trusted both inside and outside of work about whether I should go for it. Eventually I felt that there would be more regret if I didn’t take the chance than by facing my fears and seeing what I was capable of.
I attended a 10-week bootcamp with a third party training company who were teaching us to be industry testers, and I came away from the course with an industry accredited qualification.
I’ve had the most incredible support from the Reskilling team and the Quality Engineer Centre of Excellence team – they‘ve bent over backwards for us to ensure I felt heard and supported throughout. I’m really excited for the next step.
Ben Auty, Organisation and Capability Director, Lloyds Banking Group
Ben has been a senior leader with Lloyds Banking Group for 17 years having joined initially as a Graduate trainee. He’s worked in a wide variety of roles throughout the business, from organisational design and effectiveness to client servicing within our commercial business.
With a personal passion for learning, Ben’s role is focussed on building skills and future capabilities and ensuring Lloyds Banking Group is organised for success.
Ben is a history graduate and Cambridge alumni with a passion for the arts, literature and travel.
- World Economic Forum report 2021
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