Spanish companies and the reskilling revolution

Spanish companies and the reskilling revolution

Even before COVID-19 dramatically altered our lives, and in many cases, our jobs, companies, governments and other institutions were becoming aware of the need to set up mechanisms to ensure that those at risk of losing their jobs due to new technological breakthroughs and other changes in the labor landscape might acquire new skills and thus secure their longevity in the workforce.

In 2018, the World Economic Forum warned that nearly half of all basic workplace skills would undergo change in the years to come. Meanwhile, a new demand was said to be on the rise for skills and expertise that are not yet common in the workforce nor are they likely to be so in the near future if education systems and organizations’ people management approaches are not updated. It made it clear that, against this backdrop, public and private sector leaders should prepare to step up to the challenge and make bold decisions aimed at equipping people with the necessary skills to remain employable and productive in tomorrow’s workplace. 

At that time, very few foresaw a pandemic looming on the horizon with the potential to brutally upend the job market and in turn intensify this challenge and shorten the timeline available to face it. Indeed, the how, where and when of many people’s work changed overnight. To make matters worse, there is a high likelihood that pandemic-driven shifts in consumer habits will lead to notable short-term changes in the employment sector, with a steep drop in demand for certain jobs and a rise in that of others.

In light of the above, we made it our mission to analyze Spanish companies’ outlook on this challenge, their plans to overcome it and the factors that will determine their success. In June 2020 we surveyed the HR directors of 54 Spanish companies, asking questions about how they foresee employment demand in the short and medium terms, what actions they have planned to meet their workers’ professional reskilling needs and, lastly, what they need from other stakeholders, such as governments and administrations, educational institutions, and employees and their representatives, to bring these plans to fruition.

The survey results are included in this report, which provides an overview of certain job market trends pointing to employees’ professional reskilling as a priority challenge for today’s companies, workers and society as a whole. This document is not solely intended for descriptive purposes, but rather as a tool to be used to achieve this transformation. It therefore concludes with a number of recommended actions aimed at different key players, namely companies, workers, and governments and public administrations, all of whose involvement will be vital if we are to successfully overcome this unprecedented predicament we are currently facing. 

A publication by