It’s Time to Future-Proof Your Workers’ Skills

Both Workers and Employers Acknowledge the Need for New Skills but No System Is in Place to Provide Those Skills. Building a System Requires a Mindset Shift, According to a New Study from the Adecco Group and BCG

ZURICH—Workers are extremely concerned about the profound impact that technological changes are having on their jobs and expect their employers to support them in the acquisition of new skills. Meanwhile, most companies grasp the importance of giving their workers opportunities to acquire new skills. Yet they are still not investing sufficiently and developing long-term horizons when it comes to skill development. What is needed is a shift in mindset, according to a new report by the Adecco Group and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, Future-Proofing the Workforce: Accelerating Skills Acquisition to Match the Pace of Change, is being released today.

Based on responses from approximately 4,700 workers in nine countries and in-depth interviews with executive leaders of companies and institutions, the study provides a window into the preparations being made in the workplace to meet the future world of work. It offers new insights into the view of workers on how they should acquire new skills to meet changes brought about by the advent of new technologies. It also examines the role of companies and public institutions in building new workforce skills.

From the Worker Perspective

Employees are clearly aware that changes are on the horizon:

  • Two-thirds of respondents said they see their job changing significantly at least every five years because of technological advances.
  • A third are concerned about losing their job because of technological advances.
  • Two-thirds say that they themselves are primarily responsible for acquiring new skills.
  • An employer’s skilling policy influences decisions about new positions, according to 77% of respondents.

From the Company Perspective

Companies are facing several challenges, including:

  • The incentive to provide training is a challenge; companies may be paying to reskill employees who, as a result of changes later on, may not continue working for them.
  • Companies have a lot of decisions to make—and in the face of an uncertain future.
  • It’s urgent to act now. Companies cannot afford to make decisions only when the trends are clear. Those that fail to plan and invest now may find that the delay negatively affects their business down the road.

Solutions in Sight

“What is needed is a shift in mindset. Companies and workers need to see the acquisition of skills as a means of future-proofing. They need to adopt a more flexible approach, setting a path to reskilling that can be adapted to changing circumstances,” says Judith Wallenstein, a BCG senior partner and a coauthor of the report.

Notes Alain Dehaze, CEO of the Adecco Group, “In terms of coping with the transformation of the world of work, reskilling and life-long learning are essential. For candidates, it will help them strengthen their employability, and for companies providing learning opportunities, it will make them a more attractive and competitive place to work. The report underlines the importance of businesses, individuals, and policymakers coming together to focus more on employability and life-long learning.”

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact the Adecco Group at, +41 44 878 87 87, or Eric Gregoire at BCG,, +1 617 850 3783.

About the Adecco Group

The Adecco Group is the world’s leading HR solutions partner. We provide more than 700,000 people with permanent and flexible employment every day. With more than 34,000 employees in 60 countries, we transform the world of work one job at a time. Our colleagues serve more than 100,000 organisations with the talent, HR services and cutting-edge technology they need to succeed in an ever-changing global economy.  As a Fortune Global 500 company, we lead by example, creating shared value that meets social needs while driving business innovation. Our culture of inclusivity, fairness and teamwork empowers individuals and organisations, fuels economies, and builds better societies. These values resonate with our employees, who voted us number 5 on the Great Place to Work® - World’s Best Workplaces 2018 list.  We make the future work for everyone.

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation—inspiring complex change, enabling organizations to grow, building competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

To succeed, organizations must blend digital and human capabilities. Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives to spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting along with technology and design, corporate and digital ventures—and business purpose. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, generating results that allow our clients to thrive.

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