HR and payroll will need to think about becoming the workforce skillers of the future according to leading thinker Sara Caplan from PwC, who was interviewed on ReadyTech’s new podcast WorkED.
Should your business be responsible for the skilling and reskilling needs or your workforce?
It’s a question that will meet with a mixed response from HR and payroll teams. With many employees charting their own course through work and a perfectly good education market providing knowledge and skills, businesses may ask why they need to bear the extra cost of upskilling.
However, business has already begun deciding skilling and reskilling does matter. In fact, a 2018 Sklling: A National Imperative report from Australian Industry Group found intentions to increase expenditure on training was at 52 per cent of businesses, the highest recorded since 2012.
Employees and society may expect even more of employers in future when it comes to skilling.
Is reskilling part of being a ‘responsible employer’?
In the first episode of a new podcast from Aussiepay’s parent company ReadyTech, PwC’s national skills lead Sara Caplan tells CEO Marc Washbourne future employers will need to do more. She argues this will ensure business sustainability as well as ensuring you are responsible as an employer.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of being a ‘responsible employer’, and thinking about the effect on your workforce that is going to be happening as a result of rapid change and how you deal with that. Also, how you invest ahead of the curve so that you know you’ve got the workforce you need, you’ve helped them identify the skills gaps and you’ve helped them fill them,” Caplan says.
“Employers need to be really thinking about what is happening to their business. What is changing, what does that mean for the workforce, what does that mean for the skills they have within that workforce and how are they going to help people they employ gain the skills that will be required? Employers need to be dynamic in planning where their business is going to go.”
The role of vocational education and higher education
The vocational education sector could be the future engine for filling theses skills gaps, Caplan says.
“I think that is really core to what vocational education is all about. It’s about identifying skills and helping people to gain competence and capabilities into those skills. Now it might be that that also goes into the higher education sector depending on what the job is, because often you know if you are talking about advanced manufacturing or engineering, some of the skills will be in really cutting edge new technologies, it’s not just solely for the vocational education providers.”
However, the common factor is the contribution employers will need to make to this effort.
“It really has to be a partnership between employers and industry and the education providers to make this work, because we still have a bit of a communication gap between those two parties and they have to come together to work on what are the gaps and how are they going to fill them most effectively and in the most efficient way? Quickly, appropriately, relevant - and training in the way that both the individual and employer needs to do it,” she says. The Australian Industry Group’s Sklling: A National Imperative report found the main providers used by business in 2018 for training are universities or TAFE institutes to deliver full qualifications, followed by consultants or vendor companies for short courses, seminars or webinars.
Lifelong learning will mean lifelong skilling from employers
The effort required by employers will be forward-looking and lifelong. While governments and individuals shoulder responsibility, employers increasingly need to do the same, Caplan says.
“For example in Singapore they have launched SkillsFuture - which is a program that enables individuals at all sorts of levels to continue to upskill and learn and gives incentives for doing that to individuals, but also to employers to help their employees to do so. There are other programs like that in other countries where they are focusing on keeping people in work through upskilling. It’s both a government priority but also it has to be an employer responsibility,” she says.
About ReadyTech’s WorkED podcast
Want to hear more about the future of work and education? WorkED is a new podcast from Aussiepay’s parent company ReadyTech, investigating what the future of education and work will really look like and asking whether we’re ready for it. In conversation with ReadyTech CEO Marc Washbourne, leading thinkers in the fields of education, employment and technology come together to share their personal work stories and challenge the outmoded thinking, business models, community assumptions and policies being reshaped or upended by technology.
WorkED Episode 001 - Reinventing education with Sara Caplan
Sara Caplan has a history advising business and government around the globe. On WorkED, Sara shares her personal journey from studying Maths at university and managing a pub to a career in management consulting at PwC, in order to shed a light on how education as we know it might just need to be reinvented. Highlights include Sara’s take on higher education, the resurgence of VET, and her call for employers to get busy playing a role as the reskillers of the future.
Listen now on the ReadyTech website, Spotify or iTunes