That’s how Unilever’s chief human resources officer, Leena Nair, described the post-pandemic workforce in an interview this week
magazine. The maker of everything from Dove soap to Hellman’s mayonnaise is trying out a four-day workweek in New Zealand and started a program called U-Renew, “where people can choose to get educated and take a sabbatical and Unilever pays their salary.”
“40% of core skills will change in the next five years, and 50% of all employees will need reskilling to support business growth,” Nair told Time.
What’s happening: We don’t really know yet, but the pandemic seems to be resetting the workforce (in what people want to do with their lives) and employers (what work needs to be done and how).
- While whatever happens will likely take a few years to shake out, it will have widespread implications for how colleges and universities approach their offerings in career and professional development going forward.
The big picture: Right now, many higher-education institutions follow the old television programming model that was popular until TiVo was introduced in the late 1990s and Netflix started streaming content in 2007. When we need to learn something new, we go “back to school.” Learning is episodic, rather than the continual, always-on model of streaming entertainment.
Why it matters: Other learning providers outside of traditional higher education, from LinkedIn Learning to Pluralsight to Coursera, have developed more flexible platforms.
- In a moment of reinvention for workers and employers, higher education institutions risk losing this critical base of students if they don’t develop new kinds of programs and credentials to capture these lifelong learners.
Yes, but: The learning ecosystem with hundreds of new players is confusing to employers and employees alike.
- A third of learners in the U.S. intending to enroll in an online program said in a recent survey that there are too many to choose from, they don’t know what they should be learning to succeed, and want more help with their career path.
- A quarter of employers in the U.S. said in the same survey, underwritten by Pearson, that they’ve had difficulty finding the right external providers of employee learning and development and are uncertain of the value the programs provide.