4 Considerations for Continued Education in Today's Economy
Today’s economic and business environments are incredibly complex. Inflation is at a record high, supply chain disruptions continue to riddle companies and consumers, and while many organizations are still saying there’s a talent shortage, others are considering layoffs. Yet, workers can navigate this uncertainty and position themselves well in a rapidly evolving marketplace by pursuing continued education to broaden their skills. At the same time, organizations have a duty to make it easier for these learners to excel, not only to foster career advancement but also to navigate the technological disruption and workforce needs that they’re being forced to address.
To adapt to the uncertainties of today’s marketplace and compete in the modern business landscape, organizations should keep these four considerations in mind:
- Understand how your digital transformation has reshaped your industry and your talent needs. Digital transformation and its acceleration have made up-to-date technical skills and understanding more important in virtually every sector of business. For example, many hospitals are implementing advanced electronic health records software to keep pace with the digitization of healthcare. Consider upskilling healthcare administration personnel across your system so employees can adjust to this technological change. It’s important to adapt these types of programs to new technology entering your sector to ensure you’re not only positioned for today, but also for tomorrow.
- Assess your current education partnerships and training opportunities. Many employers offer on-the-job upskilling opportunities through higher education partnerships, including with institutions like DeVry University that offer career-specific training – making it convenient for employees to gain the technical skills needed for their career. This has become an expected benefit among many prospective and current employees. If you have an existing program, ensure it adapts to how your industry is changing to up-level and compete as an organization.
- Ensure your education provider offers flexibility and credentials that matter. In the U.S., there are approximately 1 million unique credentials available, including degrees, certificates and badges – meaning there is a credential - whether traditional or not - for anyone who wants to evolve their skill set, no matter what phase they are in their career or life. Ensuring your education provider offers flexible and shorter cycles of learning as well as non-traditional credentials is key to keeping up with the pace of digital disruption.
- Understand how continuous learning drives upward mobility and economic stability. A recent analysis found that adult learners pursuing continued education are 22% more likely to achieve upward mobility and have earned annual salaries 140% greater than peers who didn't return to college. The same study also found greater economic gains for those that pursued more technical credentials, highlighting the need for such skill sets in the workforce vs. what traditional higher education offers.
Not only is continued education positive for the learner, but it’s also positive for the economy. The more we’re able to address the shifts and challenges presented by the current economic environment with the right skills, diverse talent and flexible programs, the more we’ll fuel our economic engine. However, support and ambition are needed from both sides of the equation to drive progress.
“It’s imperative that our nation’s colleges and universities create shorter forms of education and training to reach millions of learners, especially amidst today’s economic uncertainties and the rapidly shifting industries of tomorrow,” said Tom Monahan, president and CEO of DeVry University. “Higher education institutions are not alone in this effort, corporate organizations must develop new work-and-learn models to train people on the job and embrace hiring approaches that rely less on traditional credentials and more on job-specific skills and career experiences.”
While learners must have the drive to pursue a career for the future, it’s up to higher education and businesses to ensure they reach learners and adapt training programs to the shifting landscape.