In a borderless world, your vision will determine your outcome. Perhaps now, more than ever, the reduced reliance on academic qualifications and increased importance of certified professional skills have given the underdogs of the corporate and technology world their long overdue chance to race to the forefront of their industries. But as with the Pareto Principle of causality, 80% of the results will emerge from the sparse 20% of the inputs. The post-globalized world has thrown up challenges in personal and professional development largely because of the scrutinizing nature of social media, not to mention the hyper-competitiveness for constant skill development and upgrades that MOOCs have brought about. When all knowledge is easily, if not freely, available, one needs to tread with caution. Here’s why:
MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) have been around for more than 7 years now, but their dismal completion rate, at less than 5%, has taken the shine off for most. Looking closer, it’s a cinch to see why: More than 86% of enrollees in MOOCs have enrolled for more than one program in their rush to chase the career of their dreams. Information overload due to lack of adequate attention to each program, or the inability to devote enough time to understand practical concepts, are the primary reasons for most dropouts. This is followed closely by the inability to maintain a constant schedule and loss of interest over time, respectively. The average individual is inundated with a constant bombardment of learning material from every possible medium, directing them where to go and what to do for their career development. Not unlike advertising. But the desire for constant learning and growth remains, and with millennials, who account for more than 87% of enrolments in specialized online programs, it’s importance cannot be overstated.
Rapid consolidation of multiple industries and sectors over the last decade have necessitated professionals to constantly upgrade their soft skills and pursue employment oriented vocational training for their hard, professional skills. With the global economy in constant turmoil and the geopolitical equations between the major world economies in a state of constant flux, the need for a global professional perspective in one’s career has never been greater. The rise of shared services across the developing world bears testimony to this very fact. From remote offices in developing countries, service professionals are now serving clients, vendors and even employees in faraway economies, directly contributing to their productivity and growth. The era of the ‘gig’ economy and the rise of freelancing in America (almost 45% of professionals in North America are projected to be freelancing by 2030) has given rise to an even greater need of skill development in order to stay relevant, and this phenomenon is increasingly being mirrored in other economies as well.
Globally recognized certified skills are now the norm, not the exception anymore. And the market is reflecting this sentiment like never before. While the online MOOCs had a market share of $65mn as of last year, the market for personalized professional training and coaching was well over a billion dollars. There is little doubt then, that the current market scenario will empower the knowledge and skill seeker over their procrastinating peers. Constant professional development is the need of the hour, and research by the World Economic Forum on the future skills that the global workforce needs, includes creativity, original thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, adaptability, persuasion, and negotiation skills. These are all pervasive for professional development across countries and sectors. In a similar vein but not on exactly the same page, global professional networking giant LinkedIn also recently published the most sought after skills by global employers in 2019. These included Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Analytical Reasoning, People Management, UX Design and Mobile Application Development, Scientific Computing and Business Analytics. It’s easy to see why; digital disruption has shaken the very foundations of orthodox businesses and employers are in a constant rush to prepare themselves to be ahead of the curve in technology adoption.
The imperatives of acquiring skills and upgrading them are the key reasons companies have recently been on a hiring spree not just in their home countries, but across borders for suitable talent pools. Professional Development, relentless pursuit of excellence, and being among the top 20% that gets the 80% of value add done to an organization will place you far ahead of the curve in the 2019 global employment scenario. Time to chin up and embrace this change head-on, wouldn’t you say?