What We’re Reading: New Skills, Talent and Employment

Highlights
A new report from Accenture suggested that the United Kingdom’s economy could forfeit up to £141.5 billion of GDP growth promised by investment in intelligent technologies over the next ten years, should they fail to close the digital skills gap.
 
According to expert Josh Bersin, the market for learning experience platforms, or LXP’s will see an exponential increase over the next few years as the learning management system (LMS) market slows.
 
Companies are competing for talent across industries by offering education benefits according to the Wall Street Journal. Companies like Kroger, HCA Healthcare and Home Depot offer education expenses, student loan repayment programs, and tuition reimbursements, respectively, to meet the demands of the labor market. (The Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
 
Woz U, the coding boot camp developed by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, is facing backlash from former students who feel the $13,000 program did not properly prepare them for the field.
 
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Boeing announced a new partnership in which Boeing will invest $11 million into accelerated training and increasing diversity in STEM fields.
 
A bill signed by California Governor Jerry Brown mandates that every publicly listed company headquartered in the state must have at least one woman on their board of directors by 2019.
 
New research in the Harvard Business Review found that men and women choose different words to describe male versus female applicants. According to researchers, these word choices result in more negative evaluations of female applicants.
 
Pymetrics announced that it has raised $40 million and will expand its work using neuroscience and artificial intelligence to assist companies in recruiting the best candidates.
 
Meritize, an education lender which uses academic, military and work achievements to enhance credit evaluation and expand funding for skills-based careers, closed on a $13.2 million Series A funding found this week.
 
 
Corporate Learning and Development News
A new report from Accenture suggested that the United Kingdom’s economy could forfeit up to £141.5 billion of GDP growth promised by investment in intelligent technologies over the next ten years, should they fail to close the digital skills gap. The report recommends prioritizing experiential learning, as they find most of the skills needed for the future workplace are best acquired through hands-on experience and practice.
 
According to expert Josh Bersin, the market for learning experience platforms, or LXP’s will see an exponential increase over the next few years as the learning management system (LMS) market slows. In the Chief Learning Officer piece, he attributes the projected growth to the changing needs of learners, the size of the workforce, and the decreasing effectiveness of an LMS on its own.
 
New research from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) found that over two-thirds of talent development leaders reported that increased engagement is the most likely benefit of lifelong learning policies. 45% of these leaders said that developing lifelong learners was a priority. The report also found an improvement in talent retention and an enhanced ability to respond to changing business needs when lifelong learning is encouraged.
 
Forbes suggests that learning and development often fail to provide real returns on investment (ROI) with every dollar spent because of lack of interest and information overload. According to the article, proper research and development before implementation of training sessions is the key to seeing ROI.
 
A piece in HR Executive outlines the increasing normalcy of upskilling through the use of virtual reality (VR) training. With more organizations using STRIVR and similar VR, AR or mixed reality experiences to train employees, the author argues that it is a trend that is here to stay.
 
Chief Learning Officer lists three ways that organizations can promote and encourage a global learning culture. The article notes that aligning leadership, creating transparent pathways, and making learning social can help create a learning culture, particularly for organizations whose workforces are fragmented across multiple regions.
 
Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News
HR Dive discusses the increasing trend of companies – including brand-names like Zurich Insurance Group – partnering with universities to develop apprenticeship programs as a solution to the tight labor market.
 
According to a new report from Clutch, nearly 60% of recent hires were hired within 2 months of submitting an application, while 43% were hired in less than two weeks. The survey found that 91% of recent hires note that the interview process impacts on their view of their employers.
 
Companies are competing for talent across industries by offering education benefits according to the Wall Street Journal. Companies like Kroger, HCA Healthcare and Home Depot offer education expenses, student loan repayment programs, and tuition reimbursements, respectively, to meet the demands of the labor market. (The Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
 
A new report from CBS News discusses the backlash faced by Woz U, the coding boot camp developed by Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak after more than two dozen former Woz U students, who paid over $13,000, did not feel that this education properly trained them for the field.
 
General HR News
Beginning on November 1, Amazon will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all full-time, part-time and temporary employees at Amazon as well as for subsidiary companies such as Whole Foods. According to CNN Tech, this minimum wage increase will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees along with 100,000 seasonal workers.
 
The Seattle Times reports that Starbucks plans to cut jobs at its Seattle headquarters over the next month, including top executives as it reorganizes after a year of high-profile departures, backlash after a racially charged incident, and weak sales growth in key markets.
 
 Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Boeing announced a new $21 million partnership to support accelerated training and increase diversity in STEM fields. $11 million in funding will come from Boeing, with the remainder coming from NSF. As part of the partnership, NSF will design, develop, and deploy an online curriculum for use by community colleges, four-year institutions, and graduate programs. They will also spend $10 million on awards to support reskilling and increasing the skills of the STEM workforce.
 
Inside Higher Ed explores the growth of Google’s entry-level IT Professional Certificate Training. While the program is offered through Coursera (with Google footing a portion of the monthly enrollment fee), 25 institutions currently also offer academic credit for the certificate. Since launching in January, 1,200 learners have completed the certificate program.
 
Startups, Innovation, and Investment News
Pymetrics announced that it has raised $40 million and will expand its work using neuroscience and artificial intelligence to assist companies in recruiting the best candidates. Pymetrics will also use this funding for product development as well as expanding into markets outside the United States.
 
STRIVR, a leader in immersive virtual reality training, announced a $16-million round of financing led by GreatPoint Ventures (GPV). This investment will allow STRIVR to advance the company’s expansion into the enterprise market.
 
ExecOnline, a leader in the delivery of leadership and development programs that offer certificates, raised $18 million in a Series C funding round led by ABS Capital Partners. The funding will be used to further develop proprietary L&D program offerings and increase its sales and marketing efforts.
 
During their Nasdaq trading debut, Upwork, the largest online freelancers’ network, priced shares at $15 apiece before opening for trading at $23 and raised $187 million through the sale of 12.5 million shares according to Markets Insider.
 
Meritize, an education lender which uses academic, military and work achievements to enhance credit evaluation and expand funding for skills-based careers, closed on a $13.2 million Series A funding found this week. Meritize will use this funding to enhance technology and scale its operations growth to accelerate their momentum as a leader in skills-based career development.
 
Impress.ai, an AI-powered recruitment platform received $1.2 million in a seed funding round led by Reapra. The funding will be used to expand their market, and enhance their products to include additional languages.
 
Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy
This week, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, agreed to a new trade deal called USMCA which, if approved, will replace NAFTA. According to USA Today, among many changes in the new agreement, there will be an update to the auto rules of origin, including that 75% of the parts of a car must be made in North America, and that 40 to 45 percent of a car will have to be made by workers who are paid a minimum of $16 an hour. The initial agreement is for 16 years, but after six years there will be a review, which could result in a 16-year extension.
 
A bill signed by California Governor Jerry Brown mandates that every publicly listed company headquartered in the state must have at least one woman on their board of directors by 2019. According to Reuters, if the company has 5 members on their board of directors, they are required to have two female representatives by 2021, and companies with 6 or more members on their board of directors must have at least three women.
 
Other
New research shared on Harvard Business Review found that both men and women choose different words to describe male versus female applicants. According to researchers, these word choices result in more negative evaluations of female applicants.