Upskill my workforce for the digital world

The impacts of COVID-19 have ramped up the pressure on costs and productivity for many organisations. This new environment is accelerating the need for digital transformation and creating immediate and large-scale workforce and skills challenges.

Automation, data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies can deliver productivity. But technology is only as good as the leaders who identify its opportunities, the technologists who deliver it and the people who work with it every day. That’s where some companies are coming up short: the right mix of skilled and adaptable people, aligned to the right culture and with the right mindset and behaviours can help power their business.

Many leaders are finding that their existing upskilling efforts are not fit for purpose: programmes don’t deliver the return on investment (ROI) organisations want or the change they need. It’s a problem that should be solved urgently.

Employers who make good-faith efforts to upskill their people build trust - and that in turn can enhance the organisation’s reputation in a world where trust is an increasingly valuable commodity. Business leaders are in the spotlight.

Playback of this video is not currently available

Upskilling: Bridging the Digital Divide

In this short documentary, academics, NGOs, policymakers and business leaders explain why upskilling for a digital world has become a priority for society, organisations and governments. We’re at an inflection point — we need to act now, collectively, to tackle this major, global issue before we risk excluding great

“There is an upskilling dividend benefitting companies as they face an uncertain economy. Retaining the right talented people and enhancing their skills can help them survive today’s challenges and drives competitive advantage in the future.”

Bhushan SethiJoint Global Leader of PwC’s People & Organisation practice
CEO concerned about availability of key skills

Three-quarters of CEOs taking part in PwC’s 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey responded that a lack of availability of the right skills is a concern. When the survey was conducted,  from September to October 2019, pre-COVID-19, their worry was around how that would constrain growth. Today that same lack of the right- skilled and adaptable people could hamper their ability to tackle the impacts of the pandemic.

The survey also found that those organisations focused on expanding their employees’ skills, and therefore further along on the upskilling curve, were ahead of their peers in many ways and were more confident in their future.

Read more from PwC' Talent Trends 2020  report, Upskilling: Building confidence in an uncertain world­.

We can help

Identify skills gaps and mismatches

Assess current and future business needs. Identify the size and nature of an organisation’s skills gaps and mismatches, where to start and what to prioritise.

  • Define future workforce and understand the possibilities available from automation
  • Assess current workforce capabilities
  • Understand the organisational culture
  • Identify skills gaps, mismatches and role adjacencies
  • Validate the case for change


Build a future-proof skills strategy

Build strategic plans to deal with the skills gaps which have the most impact on delivering business value.

  • Rapidly review and refresh upskilling strategy
  • Make inclusion a priority
  • Improve effectiveness of learning organisation & tech
  • Test strategic alternatives and scale best-performing programmes


Lay the cultural foundation

Use culture as the bedrock of an organisation’s upskilling efforts.

  • Create a cultural shift and the right behaviours
  • Inspire citizen-led innovation
  • Nurture physical vitality and mental wellbeing


Develop and implement upskilling

Create and deploy programmes which harness the organisation's culture and use key behavioural economics principles to deliver the right learning experience and rapid results.

  • Create buy-in and align rewards and incentives
  • Harness free time for learning
  • Design for an engaging learning experience
  • Build digital understanding
  • Focus on targeted personal transformation journeys
  • Deliver effective training


Evaluate return on investment

Measure the return on investment from upskilling programmes.

  • Measure Return on Learning investment
  • Track Employee Engagement
  • Benchmark the L&D function



{{contentList.dataService.numberHits}} {{contentList.dataService.numberHits == 1 ? 'result' : 'results'}}
Follow us

Contact us

Carol Stubbings

Carol Stubbings

Global Tax and Legal Services Leader, Partner, PwC United Kingdom