Putting Skills First

Microsoft and LinkedIn are working to help employees and organisations acquire digital skills.

By Marta Chmielowicz

The COVID-19 pandemic and technological advancements of the past year have ushered in a need for education and skills to function in today’s digital economy. Employers and employees alike must increasingly identify and develop these skills in order to remain competitive in a dynamic and fast-moving business climate.

That is why in June 2020, Microsoft launched a global skills initiative aimed at bringing much-needed digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year. By April 2021, the programme had helped 30 million people—including 6 million in Asia Pacific. Now, Microsoft and LinkedIn are looking to expand this work and commit to a promise of helping 250,000 companies make a skills-based hire in 2021.

By leveraging the capabilities of LinkedIn Learning, the GitHub Learning Lab, and Microsoft Learn, Microsoft has worked to extend free content and certification offerings to employees worldwide. In eight months, 30.7 million people in 249 countries and territories took advantage of these opportunities, including 5.1 million workers in Asia.

An analysis of users shows that people appear to be taking classes needed to develop skills required for most in-demand jobs. For example, there is a major uptick in courses that address horizontal skills needed for a wide variety of jobs, including critical soft skills; diversity, inclusion and belonging; and digital transformation. Employees can expect free access to these tools until the end of 2021.

The initiative is also working to support a more inclusive, skills-based labour market by creating alternative, flexible, and always-accessible learning paths. One key step is the “LinkedIn Skills Graph,” which creates a common taxonomy of skills language for individuals, employers, educational institutions, and government agencies.

LinkedIn is also pulling data from its “Economic Graph” to help people identify key skills that align with in-demand jobs and offering new ways for employees to demonstrate their skills. One new feature is a video “Cover Story” that individuals can use to convey what they can bring to a new job. The company is also piloting a new “Skills Path” technology that brings together LinkedIn Learning courses with skill assessments to help recruiters source candidates based on their proven skills.

Posted June 11, 2021 in Learning

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