What We're Reading: New Skills, Talent and Employment Edition

Top Highlights

House Republicans recently proposed $1 billion in annual spending (a 10x increase) on employment and training programs as part of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, better known as the farm bill. The funding would flow through the SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program, which aims to help those currently on food stamps gain the skills they need to secure meaningful employment and a stronger economic position. The proposed increase in SNAP E&T spending is one of several controversial changes to the SNAP program.

Based on analysis from the Economic Graph, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner notes that communication skills are the No. 1 “skill gap”. To address this issue, Inc gives several suggestions on how to be a great communicator and leader. 

A piece in Talent Economy suggests that for HR to be prepared for the quickly changing world of work, it must improve in interpreting data from people analytics, decrease silos, and create greater agility overall to allow HR professionals to work across the human capital spectrum.

The sessions at the largest edtech conference - the ASU+GSV Summit - reflected a growing trend of education technology companies investing more in training their employees. From mixed reality and education to digital materials,GeekWire explores the ways in which edtech, which is traditionally used in K-12 and higher learning, is expanding into the workplace improve learning outcomes at all levels. 

As 38% of American jobs are at risk of being displaced to automation, companies are rethinking talent recruitment. From investing in coding bootcamps to revamping job interviews and hiring teams, Forbes outlines ways to attract and hire qualified candidates

Strada Education Network announced plans to acquire Economic Modeling LLC (Emsi). Upon the acquisition, Emsi will continue to operate as an independent entity while collaborating with Strada’s network. 

Wonolo, developers of a tool to connect employers to temporary workers, raised $13 million in a funding round led by led by Sequoia Capital, including existing investors PivotNorth and Crunchfund, and new investor Base10.

Codeup LLC partnered with Alamo Colleges to implement a $2 million U.S. Department of Labor grant, providing a $3,500 award for eligible Codeup students to participate in a software development certification program to learn Java.  

 

Corporate Learning and Development News

The sessions at the largest edtech conference - the ASU+GSV Summit - reflected a growing trend of education technology companies investing more in training their employees. From mixed reality and education to digital materials,GeekWire explores the ways in which edtech, which is traditionally used in K-12 and higher learning, is expanding into the workplace improve learning outcomes at all levels. 

A recent study found that workers of all ages want a variety of learning approaches, with coaching and mentoring appealing most to the oldest (50+ years old) and youngest (21-25 years old), and short-clip videos appealing most to mid-career workers (33-49 years old). Chief Learning Officer suggests companies alter their learning strategies accordingly.  

Newer technologies are creating more self-directed, employee-led training opportunities. However, theHRDIRECTOR stresses the importance of combining individual online learning with face-to-face group learning to avoid an environment of poorly-connected individuals and to promote a collaborative and communicative workforce.  

According to a new survey, most employees (80%) agree that diversity is important and helps business outcomes. However, while 40% of respondents think their companies don’t need to make any improvements, measures of representation, retention and a sense of belonging remain below 30%. 

In 2018, only 30% of companies had proactive learning plans in place for handling changes. L&D teams, focusing more on personalized learning and content curation, plan to increase their use of video and micro-learning opportunities to help employees adjust to major events.

According to new research, “Fast Learner” organizations-- early adopters of Machine Learning (ML)-- are seeing greater improvements in the performance of the organizations. Researchers suggest that these Fast Learner organizations are successful because they have senior level management who view ML as a strategic priority, they see ML as a differentiator for their organization, they see increased profitability and impact on revenue, they have an increasing reliance on local resources, and they provide a greater opportunity to implement ML across departments. 

An HR Dive interview with Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America, revealed that 91% of U.S. employers plan to maintain or increase their number of employees due to digitalization. According to Frankiewicz, upskilling the workforce and human development will be the solution to the skills revolution. 

 

Credentials, Hiring, and Applicant Tracking News

Based on data from the Economic Graph, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner notes communication skills as the No. 1 “skill gap”. To address this issue, Inc gives several suggestions on how to be a great communicator and leader. 

As 38% of American jobs are at risk of being displaced to automation, companies are rethinking talent recruitment. From investing in coding bootcamps to revamping job interviews and hiring teams, Forbes outlines ways to attract and hire qualified candidates

By thinking of extracting talent as a positive-sum game, considering more M&A opportunities, and strengthening consumer relationships, companies can successfully navigate the nuances of recruiting and engage talent according toForbes

As more of the U.S. population ages and retires, VentureBeat predicts that automation could drive an expansion of the workforce with new technology integration as the key to managing an aging workforce. 

To solve the labor shortage in the small business economy, Inc recommends that companies join the growing trend of accessing non-traditional pools of labor, like teenagers. 

A new study shows that freelancing comprises 36% of the U.S. workforce and contributes approximately $1.4 trillion annually to the economy. By 2027, that number is projected to become a majority. Researchers suggest that freelancers are better prepared for the future, as 55% of freelancers now have participated in reskilling education in the past six months which is critical for a quickly changing landscape. 

According to results from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth conducted between 1997 and 2016 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers change jobs less frequently as they got older. Based on yearly interviews of 9,000 men and women born between 1980 to 1984, from ages 18-22 they had an average of 4.6 jobs, however that number reduced to 2.2 jobs between 27 and 30. Additionally the study found that by their 25th birthday, 28% of women had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 21% of men. 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue suggests that American businesses, government, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders should get involved with providing pathways to future jobs by focusing more investments in the education pipeline sooner. 

 

General HR News

SHRM suggests that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology can enable HR teams to automate repetitive tasks in recruiting and onboarding freeing up HR staff for higher-impact work and leading to increased efficiencies as well as job satisfaction among HR teams.

A piece in Talent Economy, suggests that for HR to be prepared for the quickly changing world of work, it needs to implement HR 3.0 - which requires a new level of comfort with interpreting data from people analytics, fewer silos, and greater agility overall to allow HR professionals to accomplish activities across the human capital spectrum and an HR space that is efficient and agile to ensure talent strategies are effective. 

new report suggests that while technological innovations are key in advancing many sectors, jobs will always be available because new advancements lead to new industries. Researchers also suggest that human abilities such as sensorimotor skills and cognitive functionality provide an advantage over artificial intelligence. 

As more research reveals that lying on a resume is an increasingly common practice, HR leaders offer advice for getting around the lies, including using interviews and follow up questions strategically, and determining whether the lies impact the direct workplace needs.

TechCrunch profiles Eightfold.ai, a new company founded by former Google and Facebook employees which uses AI to help employers determine the best path for an employee to reach his or her full potential in the workplace.

As needs in the market shift, companies and their leaders need to shift as well. Entrepreneur emphasizes the importance of the ability to change gears, especially in a dynamic market. 

 

Employer Partnerships/Company Innovation

Codeup LLC partnered with Alamo Colleges to implement a $2 million U.S. Department of Labor grant. Codeup will award $3,500 for eligible Codeup students to participate in a software development certification program to learn Java. Both organizations are working towards increasing the overall education expertise of U.S. citizens for high-demand careers. 

Udemy announced new exclusive courses that focus on skills development for business leaders. The expansion of the courses fall under the already-popular leadership category. 

Simplilearn won a General Service Administration contract to offer professional certification courses to employees of federal agencies at a significant discount. 

 

Startups, Innovation, and Investment News

Wonolo, developers of a tool to connect employers to temporary workers, raised $13 million in a funding round led by led by Sequoia Capital, including existing investors PivotNorth and Crunchfund, and new investor Base10.

Techtonic Group, a recruitment and training company, raised $2 million in a round including University Ventures and Zoma Capital.

Britain's Learning Technologies Group announced plans to purchase PeopleFluent Holdings Corp for $150 million. This purchase will help the company expand its U.S. presence.

Strada Education Network announced plans to acquire Economic Modeling LLC (Emsi). Upon the acquisition, Emsi will continue to operate as an independent entity while collaborating with Strada’s network. 

 

Macroeconomic Trends and Public Policy

House Republicans recently proposed $1 billion in annual spending on employment and training programs - a 10x increase -  as part of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, better known as the farm bill. The funding would flow through the SNAP Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program, which aims to help those currently on food stamps gain the skills they need to secure meaningful employment and a stronger economic position. The federal government currently spends $90 million SNAP E&T grants each year; under the House’s proposed farm bill, this would increase to $250 million in FY 2020 and $1 billion for FY 2021 and future years.  The proposed increase in SNAP E&T spending is one of several controversial changes to the SNAP program, which also include aggressive new work requirements for some SNAP beneficiaries.

 

Other

Despite the fact that taxpayers and states have subsidized Amazon’s warehouses, one in three of their employees - at least in Arizona - rely on food stamps to put food on the table. 

Wired reports on the challenges that lay ahead in the future workforce with automation and technological advances and the government’s role in preparing society for a new economic reality. 

In follow up for the bill introduced in the New York City Council to make it unlawful for private employers to communicate with employees via electronic communications during non-work hours, a recent survey reveals that more than half of workers would be in favor of such a law, while 1 in 4 think it would not be successful. 

At the end of 2018, Finland will discontinue its experiment of providing a universal basic income, or a free government stipend, to the economically misfortunate. The Finnish government hoped that the support would be a gateway for people to seek economic advancement; however, the decision to discontinue is in line with public concerns around giving money away with no expectations. Results from the experiment will be released next year.