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Invest in Your Talent, Reap the Rewards: The Connection Between Upskilling and Thriving Organizations

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TP Feb 2023


If you prefer, you can download the PDF of this Talent Pulse Briefing.


Upskilling. Reskilling. Retooling. No matter what  you want to call it, your workforce probably needs it.  Is your organization ready? 

Most of us have heard it by now – there is a skill shortage. Addressing the shortage will take work and creativity on the part of organizations and their leaders. Yet, aside from being the buzzword of the moment, what does upskilling truly mean to an organization? Why are we in this situation and how exactly do we move forward? We’re sharing a practical guide designed to get you moving in the right direction toward building the skills you need. Because to keep your organization thriving, moving forward is the only way to go.

What is driving shifting skill demands?
According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report 2020, employers estimate that 4 in 10 workers will need reskilling. But this doesn’t mean a complete education overhaul – in this same report, only 28% of employers think that workers need more than one year of reskilling. But, why? What is driving the changing skills needs of employers today?

Automation will displace some jobs while creating many more. We are  seeing greater demand for skilled technical roles that serve as the bridge between traditional factory floor jobs and engineering. These jobs often require more technical aptitude but not necessarily a post-secondary degree and include:


Increased focus on sustainability is fueling the green economy which is expected to add an estimated 60 million new jobs. There is a sustainable  version of every job or role on the way to or awaiting its transformation, including new opportunities and transitions to better versions of conventional roles.

Beyond automation and digitization, sustainability is emerging as the third major horizon (and goes hand-in-hand). And while 8 in 10 organizations have already developed their ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) strategy, 94% of companies lack the necessary talent to implement their goals.

Demographics are shifting as more people leave the workforce with fewer individuals available to replace them. By 2034, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that older adults will outnumber children for the first time in recorded U.S. history.

Our new report, Accelerating the Sustainability Workforce, discusses 775 roles that will change to incorporate some sustainable aspects in the upcoming years.

Upskilling is a win-win: Why more and more employers are prioritizing up/reskilling their workers

It’s good for your employer value proposition.
Demonstrates your organization’s commitment to employees’ career progression, building loyalty and boosting retention
Contributes to talent attraction as job candidates value an organization that offers learning and career development opportunities
Limits exposure to negative publicity by investing in upskilling or reskilling workers into other roles inside or outside of the organization

It's good for business. 
Builds in-demand, hard-to-find skills required to meet your production and business goals
Minimizes the high cost associated with hiring new employees by investing in current employees
Boost engagement (and reduce “quiet quitting”) by developing employees and making them feel valued
Increases retention by investing in people and showing them opportunities for career progress through gaining new skills and knowledge

It's good for society.
Combats the growing polarization in society caused by skills gaps
Empowers the competitiveness and productivity of the U.S. by building up the skilled workforce with the know-how to support new technologies

Upskilling in Action – An Example
Building a Roadmap for the new Cybersecurity in Manufacturing Workforce
Manufacturing’s growing reliance on automation, advanced control systems, and remote work only expands the attack surface for cyber criminals, increasing urgent concerns about cybersecurity. But the cybersecurity skills gap is severe. Surveys show it will take 3.4 million people to fill the global cybersecurity workforce gap and the problem is getting worse, with the workforce gap increasing by 26.2%

MxD partnered with ManpowerGroup to createThe Hiring Guide: Cybersecurity in Manufacturing, a playbook for building a new army to protect manufacturers’ intellectual property, factories and products from cyber attackers. The work highlights 247 roles with recommendations on how to train and upskill workers to handle these jobs; and detailed descriptions and career pathways for specific roles crucial for the future of cybersecurity. This is an indispensable playbook for manufacturing executives, HR departments, educators, and policy makers.

View the Hiring Guide here.

How to start your own upskilling program
1. Assess your current workforce alongside your technology roadmap.
Develop a view of how planned technological enhancements will change the composition of skills and knowledge your workforce will need to possess. Based on job openings and future hiring plans, identify the most in-demand roles and determine the skills and/or skills gaps associated with them. This can help you prioritize the kind of training that is needed more urgently.

2. Drill down on skills.
Identify adjacent skills to those required by in-demand jobs. For example, if you are in need of engineering technicians, soft skills such as attention to detail and problem solving are crucial. Workers in other technician positions positions who display these attributes could make good candidates for reskilling, learning the technical skills the job requires.

3. Make a master plan.
For filling in those skills gaps, you need a long-term plan. Create structured, realistic and motivating career pathways allowing for a specific time investment over a reasonable period to enable talent to successfully achieve next-level job level skills. Then prioritize launching the career training most crucial for your organization’s success.

4. Enlist help.
To ensure a best-in-class training/upskilling experience, connect with a partner that offers the expert training your employees need to help you build the best curriculum for your career pathways. Manpower partners with Tooling U-SME and University of Phoenix to provide our Talent with the courses and training they need to level up into in-demand jobs.

5. Build excitement and enrollment.
Start by creating awareness and excitement about the new program. Promote it in a newsletter, send a regular cadence of promotional emails, post signage in your facility, and discuss the program at team meetings. Once your upskilling program gets off the ground, consider profiling employees who have completed training and highlight their success. You may also choose to incentivize participants by offering rewards for course completions such as a gift card or paid time off. And remember to celebrate milestones, preferably in-person, or digitally.

6. Measure success and optimize.
Remember to set enrollment or participation goals and measure your performance against those goals at certain points in your journey. Strategize opportunities to improve and optimize, and ways to eliminate roadblocks to success. Document your performance and find opportunities to share with leadership to make the case for more investment.

Learn more about how Manpower can partner with you to design and even manage your own upskilling program.

How we invest in Manpower Talent
We are committed to being creators of talent at scale, boosting employability and income prosperity for millions of people through MyPath, a program focused on coaching, assessing, upskilling and reskilling and supporting Manpower Associates throughout their career journey with us. MyPath has transformed 182,000 lives across the globe.

Manpower Acceleration Programs
We offer certification programs to eligible Associates to upgrade their skills and increase their potential for higher paying employment opportunities in in-demand jobs. In partnership with the University of Phoenix, we offer certification programs AR/AP, contact center/CSR, contact center team lead, help desk, HR assistant, project professional, and warehouse team lead. In partnership with Tooling U-SME, we offer programs for certified manufacturing associate, machine operator, quality technician, maintenance technician, engineering technician, CNC programmer, robotics technician, electrical technician, fluid systems technician.

Registered Apprenticeship program
ManpowerGroup is an approved National Apprenticeship sponsor by the U.S. Department of Labor. We can assist our clients with setting up their own registered apprenticeship program by supporting with the selection of program locations, selection of apprenticeship candidates, overseeing the enrollment, monitoring and completion steps in the DOL’s Registered Apprentice Partner Information Database System, management and payrolling.

Academy of Advanced Manufacturing with Rockwell Automation
This is a 12-week program designed to close the skills gap by leveraging the skills veterans have gained in service. AAM participants learn advanced manufacturing techniques and are job-ready on day one.

Whether your skills gap is a crack or a chasm, it’s not going to go away on its own. Putting an upskilling program in place tackles the root of the problem, preparing your workforce and your organization for what comes next.

Have an immediate staffing need? We have access to the skilled talent you need to power the future of your organization.

Learn more

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