More people are now out of work than ever since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and COVID-19 has made the skills gap even more. This, according to analysts, could potentially exacerbate economic inequity in the coming years as millions of people are bearing the brunt of this economic crisis. And for those who still have jobs, it’s changing how they work but what they work on. Experts say that every job will require increasingly digital skills in the next five years, and would need extensive upskilling to find employment.
In this scenario, tech companies are working on various means to tackle this situation. Yesterday, in an announcement Microsoft said it is trying to revamp its technology ecosystem to help people find employment by reskills themselves. According to Microsoft, 149 million new tech jobs will be produced in fields like software development, cybersecurity and machine learning. In fact, Microsoft’s Brad Smith said the company estimates that in 2020 before the year comes to an end, almost a quarter of a billion people lose their jobs worldwide.
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella announced, “We are bringing together these assets to reimagine how people learn and apply new skills to help 25 million people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, acquire digital skills for jobs of the future.”
This is a comprehensive technology initiative that will build on data and digital technology. It starts with data on jobs and skills from the LinkedIn Economic Graph. It provides free access to content in LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and the GitHub Learning Lab, and couples these with Microsoft Certifications and LinkedIn job-seeking tools. These resources can all be accessed at a central location and will be broadly available online in four languages: English, French, German and Spanish. The company is also pledging to make stronger data and analytics — including data from the LinkedIn Economic Graph — available to governments around the world so they can better assess local economic needs.
The initiative is pulling together every part of the company, which starts with Linkedin – which is the heart and soul but combines LinkedIn efforts with Microsoft Learn, Github, and Github Learning Lab, working together in a new and important way. Given the rise in demand for digital skills and for roles which are more technical in nature, Microsoft Learn combines short step-by-step training with interactive coding and scripting to help learners go deep on Microsoft technologies, and help them learn for Microsoft certifications.
This means Linkedin job seekers that engage in Learning pass will have the opportunity to practise newly acquired skills by completing realistic projects in a personalised Github repo. Job seekers pursuing developer roles will be able to access the Github Learning Lab to practise their skills, which is a bot-based learning tool and a repository to teach coding with real-life demo based modules. Github’s Learning Labs provides hands-on learning tutorials for aspiring as well as experienced developers. In May 2020, Learning Lab usage was up 900% compared to May 2019.
Converging The Ecosystem For Tech Skills Training
Microsoft has started a new portal — opportunity.linkedin.com — to tap in resources across the Microsoft ecosystem, with insights from real-time skilling trends using LinkedIn. Microsoft calls this the economic graph, which is also offered to not just the public but also policymakers and government. Based on the data and the job trends, Microsoft is making four learning paths from LinkedIn Learning available for free.
The multi-faceted approach in this initiative include:
- Data to identify jobs and skills
- Access to learning content free of charge
- Low-cost Certifications and free job-seeking tools
First, Microsoft uses data from the LinkedIn economic graph, which is a digital representation of the global economy, to identify the ten most in-demand jobs like IT technician, data analyst and customer service specialist.
Then, it will match people’s skills to the right jobs, providing access to low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools, and also partnering with nonprofits to provide additional support. System learning creates a continuous feedback loop between the work, skills and learning required to succeed at the task at hand, and credentials for career advancement.
“Microsoft ecosystem is uniquely positioned to help people connect opportunities. Job seekers and the government agencies that support them need the access to data to help identify where employment opportunities exist accessible tools to effectively develop relevant skills, and the ability to demonstrate skills to organisations who are hiring,” says Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn.
“By digitally mapping over 690 million professionals across 50 million companies, 11 million job listings, we are able to spot trends like in-demand skills, emerging jobs and global hiring patterns,” LinkedIn CEO further stated in a video announcement.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.