PwC releases digital skills training report

Posted: 16/07/2020

PwC skills report_jul20Thousands of new jobs can be created in the Channel Islands in the next 15 years if governments, business and educators work together to champion digital technology, according to a new report from PwC in the Channel Islands.

The report – New World. New Skills. Upskilling the Channel Islands’ workforce for a digital world – calls for the transformation of the entire workforce – not just reliance on a few tech specialists - through the training of all employees in digital technology skills.

However, the report warns that thousands of existing jobs could be at risk between now and 2035 through the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation if no action is taken.   

The underlying threat comes from technology that is able to perform increasingly complex tasks, and even make decisions, that businesses currently pay people to do. 

Nick Vermeulen (pictured), the Partner leading on Innovation and Technology at PwC Channel Islands, commented: "If governments, businesses and educators don’t take decisive action, the jobs that are furloughed or lost in the downturn may never return.

"Posts at risk in five or 10 years’ time could disappear much sooner, as restructuring and cost-saving accelerate in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But with the right skills, agility and readiness to embrace change, the Channel Islands can create thousands of new jobs to make up for the ones that will be lost."

Nick Vermeulen-PwCKey findings

• 30% of jobs are at risk from automation and AI across the Channel Islands between now and 2035, equating to over 27,000 jobs.
• The finance sector will be the most affected, with the crunch period between 2025 and 2030. The younger generation and the low-paid/low-skilled will also be the most impacted.
• Covid-19 has accelerated the timetable as businesses have rushed to adopt technology to survive – many jobs will be hit sooner than the analysis indicates.
• Across the three waves of technology change between now and 2035, as many new jobs can be created as those lost.
• However there will be a mismatch between the jobs needed and the availability of skills in the Channel Islands to do those jobs unless upskilling is started now.
 
The report recommends the creation of a taskforce to consider a mass digital upskilling plan for Guernsey and Jersey. It also recognises the positive efforts already made towards digital upskilling, with initiatives from Digital Jersey partnering with business, and Digital Greenhouse in Guernsey. 

However, the islands must ramp up both the scale and pace of change, bringing more parties together into a community-wide effort. Jersey's newly launched Fiscal Stimulus Fund's focus on skills and training is one example of an opportunity to be seized. 

Recommendations 

• Fiscal stimulus to support the jobs market and fund an investment-led recovery
• Strategic planning to help employers identify the emerging skills of the future, and collaboration with educators to make them part of the curricula
• A business-led approach to create high-quality work experience, continued education, jobs and apprenticeships for young people
• A strategic commitment to lifelong learning at a government level, supported by industries, to invest in the skills of the future.

To view the report click here


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