Earning and Learning

INNOVATION - Kip Wright, senior vice president, Manpower, North America on instilling lifelong learning.

College or cash? Learn or earn? It’s hard to prepare for the world of work when it’s changing so fast. By some estimates, up to 65 per cent of the jobs Generation Z will perform don’t even exist yet. Add to that the fact that 38 per cent of employers tell us they’re already having difficulties finding people with the right skills to fill open jobs, and it is clear that workforce development is one of the major challenges of our times. To meet it, we’ll need workers who are hungry to learn, and employers who are committed to helping them.

Every year ManpowerGroup works with more than 400,000 businesses and places over 3.4 million associates into work. We’re seeing businesses want it all – experience AND qualifications. This makes our focus clear: find ways for individuals to develop their skills and gain valuable experience while maintaining a steady income.

Earning and learning don’t have to be mutually exclusive; in fact, they should go hand-in-hand. Going forward, both candidates and employers must get better at this sort of on-going skills development.

Helping people move on and up

Giving people the dignity of meaningful work is our purpose. Helping them win in the changing world of work is our passion. Blending these together creates a powerful combination that offers a tremendous opportunity for all of our associates. And that’s our heritage – we’ve been doing this for nearly 70 years at ManpowerGroup.

With that in mind, this year Manpower launched a new MyPath programme, providing our associates with assessment, guidance, development and education alongside career opportunities. MyPath includes our Full College Tuition Coverage Programme, offering all eligible US Manpower associates the opportunity to achieve degree-level education through Western International University (West) while they work, without the crippling student debt. Rather than tuition reimbursement, it’s a fully-funded model that helps people map out what they need to progress, and then gets them there. At a time when parents and young people don’t know whether learning or earning is the best option, it means cost is no longer a barrier to higher education.

The college tuition programme offers a broad range of courses that we’ve carefully chosen to reflect the in-demand skills we know employers are looking for. West’s strong record of higher education innovation means they’re well-placed to partner with our associates every step of the way. That’s both inside the classroom – course delivery and tutoring – and outside, to help people manage the new demands on their time. We see this personalised approach to coaching as critical to ensuring successful completion of the programme and a model for the future of secondary and continuous adult learning.

When it comes to very specific skillsets, we know that one size doesn’t fit all, and sometimes what’s needed is an injection of specialised training. That’s why, in addition to MyPath, we’ve identified people in customer service, sales and project management roles that can increase their earning potential through short, tailored courses. The Manpower Acceleration Programme (MAP) combines education and coaching to equip them with the next level of skills to progress into higher demand and higher paying roles.

This sort of high-touch guidance is often what it takes to help employees succeed. As all of these individuals increase their skill sets, businesses will have access to a wider pool of quality talent and associates will be on the path to higher wages. In the past two years, we’ve already helped 122,000 Manpower associates significantly increase their earning potential, and MyPath will make it possible for many more to do the same.

Learnability: Developing Employability for Tomorrow’s Talent

In today’s world of work, those with the right skills call the shots. Given the pace and scale of technological change, even if you are fortunate enough to have had a good education, the ability to upskill, re-skill and stay relevant is essential. Employability no longer depends on what you already know, but on what you are likely to learn, even when not obviously linked to your current role. For that reason, learnability – the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt your skill sets – will be critical.

The good news is that the future looks bright. Used to a faster-paced world, our recent research found that younger workers want varied careers that progress more quickly. They know they need to upskill regularly to stay employable over their longer working lives – they’ll even spend their own time and money to do so. Employers need to attract and inspire the best young talent, invest in training and create ways to learn on the job and move around the organisation. The appetite is there; we just need to unleash the potential.

This new generation say they want to create ‘One Life’ – in other words, have the flexibility to integrate home and work. But too often, when it comes to further education and upskilling, the time and cost required means earning money trumps learning new skills or pursuing further education. In a 21st Century workplace, we think you really can (or ought to) have it all.

Our associates tell us this model really works for them. In many cases, those interested in the program either missed their chance at an advanced degree the first time or simply want help and guidance on how to earn more. The OECD estimates that globally people with some form of tertiary education beyond a high school degree – whether that’s an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or higher – earn about 60  per cent more than those without. Many people feel this first hand and are determined to do something about it; MyPath provides a second chance. When they succeed, it’s good for both them and their employer.

That’s why our clients share our excitement. The MyPath programme allows them to offer something to their workforce that they might not have otherwise been able to do. When they employ associates taking part in our upskilling program, they know they have people who are committed to continually progressing in their careers. As more people proceed through the programme, clients will have access to more qualified, better skilled talent.

New skills for a fast changing world

It can be challenging to predict how skills needs will change as organisations adapt to new technology and a shifting business environment. McKinsey estimates that 45 per cent of the activities people are paid to perform today could be automated with current technology. This won’t necessarily mean fewer jobs, but it will mean different jobs requiring different skills. Anticipating what these skills will look like will be critical to building a sustainable pipeline of future talent, at ManpowerGroup we’re partnering with others to do just that. For example, we recently joined forces with the Chicago-based Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) to identify the future skills needed to drive the growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States.

The pace of change in how work gets done makes learnability and skills development all the more critical. If there’s one take-away from the UK’s Brexit vote, it’s that a lot of people feel disenfranchised. We believe employers searching for scarce talent have a stake in helping this group develop the skills to succeed.

Through MyPath, Manpower has committed to driving cutting-edge programmes that help people develop the skills they need to stay employable in the long term, so they can lead better lives through better work. We’re continually asking ourselves: how can we invest in our people and provide learning opportunities to help them create paths to build better lives? This is not a nice-to-have; it’s how we will develop tomorrow’s talent and foster social mobility. It’s our chance to be part of the solution.