The Eurocadres blog

Reinventing work: Professionals and managers need for reskilling and upskilling



Innovation, technology, automatization and globalization are affecting global industries causing a significant impact on employment, redefining its nature and widening, in many cases, skills gaps. This has been an issue of concern in the EU for quite a long time now.

skills education

Professionals and managers are aware that the impact of the internet of data and applications and the platform economy will require for them to reskill and upskill and that the world of work, the nature of their skills and their digital skills training/ lifelong learning trajectory have already changed. And we all know this is a multi-dimensional process since highly specialized ICT[1] skilled professionals are required; digital skills are now needed in almost all types of work and there is a growing need to reskill the existing workforce.

The fact that this hyperconnected world is having an impact on the lives of professionals and managers who are already living the transition from the “knowledge worker” to the so called “digital worker”, where workers, specifically professionals and managers, are defined by their ability to have actionable, live data at anytime and anywhere, expecting their livee reactions and decisions- makes it necessary for all stakeholders and specially trade unions to develop new training schemes that provide professionals and managers with the necessary tools to face the new world of work.

digital skills are now needed in almost all types of work and there is a growing need to reskill the existing workforce

The reason being that if the fourth industrial revolution is to be a success an important ingredient is bound to be the mass upgrading of the digital skills of its professionals and managers, which will enable them to keep up with the pace of technological progress. And unions must be a driving force behind this process.

The growth in demand for digital skills already put the issue of training high up on the agenda of European policymakers. In its “Skills Agenda for Europe” published in June 2016 the EU Commission emphasized its determination to “tackle the digital skills deficit in Europe”.

unions must be a driving force behind this process

But educational policies, and these include higher education, vocational training and youth education, are in the hands of member state policymakers, while the EU has only a supportive and coordinating role and so, at national level, unions have a crucial role to play getting involved on developing formative actions concerned with reskilling and upskilling opportunities for companies and employees.

However, taking into account that leaving the digital skills programmes to the member states may exacerbate the multi-faceted digital divide, the EU launched the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, in June 2016 including more than 100 stakeholders, leading internet companies, NGOs, social partners and educational institutions to provide training in digital skills for EU citizens which could be a step forward to building another coalition specifically aimed at reskilling in the fourth industrial revolution.

As trade unions, we must encourage policymakers to develop reskilling and upskilling programmes aimed at a renewal of the national education schemes but also at companies providing reskilling and upskilling courses to its employees to suit their own needs. We do not yet know just to what extent and how the new world of work will affect jobs of professionals and managers and how they will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to trade unions and civil society.

[1] information and communication technologies

Paula Ruiz Rorres

The author

Paula Ruiz Torres
Vice-President of Eurocadres