Over the years, technology has rapidly taken over society by giving us the internet, smart phones, and video conferencing to revolutionize how people work. Technology’s influence in the workforce was also felt greatly in robotics and automation which streamlined and improved the efficiency of processes. The growth of automation, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality have created fear in the hearts of many, especially blue-collar workers. However, the truth cannot be avoided that digital literacy and transformation is the future of the workforce.
Business giants Amazon and LinkedIn are preparing for the technology revolution and has pledged to upskill and reskill thousands of employees in their workforce in an attempt to supply the talent they need and address the skills gap. Is your agency ready to future proof your workforce?
Why do you need to upskill?
So, what is upskilling about? Upskilling is the process of teaching the workforce new skills. The continuous influx of technology in the blue-collar industry nowadays demands employees to develop new abilities not just with the production process but also with workforce management.
Although the blue-collar industry is adapting new technological advancements like automated machines, there will always be a need for humans to oversee, handle reporting, and maintain these technology tools. This is where upskilling takes a crucial role. Now that machines have greatly improved production times, there are more opportunities for companies to train their current employees and prepare them for the future of work. Not only does this boost moral, but it also ensures that employees are equipped with the best tools possible to succeed.
Job openings are at a record high yet companies are struggling to fill them, and today’s most sought after jobs are within the blue-collar industry. Automation specifically machine learning and artificial intelligence are already expanding what human workers can do and that in itself is causing a big gap with skills and employment. Instead of waiting for the lengthy recruiting process, companies opt instead to upskill their current workforce. This way, the internal training provides an effective solution of instilling the necessary skill sets in workers that already know the company’s procedures.
Managing the employment gap with upskilling means training the existing workforce in new technical skills that are needed to work alongside machines as well as critical thinking skills to address more complex situations.
The New Collar Job
While a good work ethic and a strong body could have easily built a career in the blue-collar industry a few years ago, the same cannot be said these days. The baby boomers – the last generation to embrace blue-collar work – are close to retiring and the new generation of college-educated workers are most likely to choose white collar jobs because of the labor intensive reputation the blue-collar industry is known for. However, the nature of the job is already changing and it inspired the creation of new collar jobs.
From the white collar workers who did the thinking and blue collar workers who did the doing comes new collar workers, a new breed of workforce that is constantly learning and possesses the intelligence to thrive in changing and complex manufacturing environments. They prove that learning does not end with achieving a formal education because due to the increasing demands of technology, employees may need to retrain themselves several times in their career to keep up.
Upskilling for the future
New technology is here to bring new changes and opportunities. Whether we are ready to embrace it does not change the fact that it is changing the landscape of the workforce rapidly. The first step in embracing the future and employing workers that have the capacity to be productive alongside the technology is education. Not only are employers securing their business from a future skills shortage, but they are also empowering blue-collar works with a more secure, profitable, and challenging job.