Episode 2: Reskilling for the Future of Work

by Yvonne Harris

In this episode of Welcome to the New Normal we ask if the upheaval of 2020 has accelerated changes in the way we work and the way we live. What impact has this had on employment, and how many of us are going to have to retrain to stay relevant in a changing jobs market?

Tune in to the Welcome to the New Normal audio podcast now and follow along with the script below.


Justine: What a difference a year makes!

Has it really been a year since we went into lockdown?

It feels like it was yesterday, and an eternity ago…

Tony: It does feel like we have crossed a frontier, from pre-Covid to post-Covid…

I think is likely to be a permanent historical marker, like a revolution.

Children will ask: what was it like before Covid came along and changed everything?

Well, a lot has changed, and the New Normal is throwing up plenty of fresh challenges.

This is especially true for jobs…

Over the last year, plenty of people have been furloughed…

And it’s inevitable, sadly, that many businesses are not going to survive.

And that means that a lot of the workforce is going to need to reskill…

In this spirit, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, up for re-election in May, has proposed a £32 million fund to help Londoners reskill for the future jobs market.

Is it just an election gambit?

Maybe, but there is definitely a need.

In London, and pretty much everywhere else, a lot of great potential talent are going to find themselves on the jobs market in the coming months and years.

And finding a new job means that a lot of people are going to have to retrain.

Google has certainly recognized the need – and has sniffed out an opportunity.

Google has launched online training courses, which you can do from $39 a month  – to help job seekers get into the world of tech. – much cheaper than getting a college degree in the US!

Whatever your entry-level, there is probably something to awaken the inner geek…

They’ve got courses in IT support, data analytics, UX design, and working on Google’s Android platform. You can do it all online, and each course takes about six months.

Complete the course and you get a “Google Career Certificate”, which they promise is the key to a new career. They say they will even hire the best performers!

What course would you take Justine? Personally, I think everyone could benefit from understanding User Experience design…

Justine: Data analytics…


People have to reinvent themselves, but so do companies.

That’s why PwC spoke to some 800 CEOs, asking them how to go about completely reinventing the workspace.

Of course, most of them agreed that we do… And more and more companies are moving to the hybrid model.

So there’s a big positive. According to this research, a lot of positives have come out of the experience of lockdown.

We’ve discovered that for millions of people, working from home is perfectly feasible, welcomed, and also productive.

But there were negatives, too:

It’s been disproportionately tough for women, minorities, low-skilled workers, part-timers, and contractors not covered by furlough…

But what the research found was an overriding priority in most companies for hybrid working configurations…

So, sometimes working from home, sometimes from the office, and ever greater adoption of digital collaboration tools…

These types of flexible work models will become a permanent fixture for a range of roles, like sales, finance, and technology.

And that’s going to require a greater investment, but this may well be offset in part by savings on things like rent of office space

But it’s much more challenging for industries such as hospitality and care, transportation, and retail, which are experiencing far more disruptive changes to their business models.

Is there really an appetite for change in all companies?

Not according to French business daily Les Echos.

Their research found that 80% of CEOs of large companies in France are ready to make a move to hybrid working.

But that’s not the case for companies of all sizes.

Just 23% of SMEs said they could anticipate the same level of reorganization.

They just don’t have the resources or flexibility to make it work…

But I wonder how they’ll react to pressure from their employees, who are going to demand it … if it fits with their roles.

I guess an uncertain future is more of a challenge if you’re a small operation…


This week’s number is 25.

It’s 25%…25% more workers may need to switch occupations, than before the pandemic.

That’s according to McKinsey…

And it’s the most disadvantaged workers may have the biggest job transitions ahead

In Europe and the United States, women, minorities, and people without college degrees will be most affected.

In France, Germany, and Spain, the increase in job transitions required due to trends influenced by COVID-19 is 3.9 times higher for women than for men.

Are you looking to retrain? New horizons in technology? Do let us know, and please make sure to tune in to the next episode of Powell Software’s “Welcome To The New Normal.”

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