The Talent Development Race

04/07/2011 04:20 pm ET | Updated Jun 07, 2011

Technological, economic and social trends are transforming the business landscape all around us. Gartner predicts that by 2015, 40 percent or more of an organization's work will be non-routine, up from 25 percent in 2010. According to a recent Cisco survey, three of every five employees believe it is unnecessary to be in the office to be productive, and two of three employees worldwide say they prefer a job with less pay and more flexibility. The challenge ahead lies in human capital transformation, and the great equalizers that can help solve this challenge are education and the Internet.

Please enjoy my discussion on The Talent Development Race, and continue reading to learn more about the challenges the global workforce faces.

The Challenges of a Transforming World

Entire industries are transforming overnight with shifts occurring in connected health care, transportation, government services and education. Content is going digital, mobile and on-demand. Traditional video rental services are closing their brick and mortar stores and moving to an on-demand streaming digital distribution model. Major booksellers are closing stores and transitioning to digital delivery through e-readers. In Jan. 2011, Apple's App Store announced its 10 billionth download. Connected trains in Europe have switched from heavy, complex, proprietary cabling to industry standard IP networking, cutting costs, reducing weight, improving operator visibility for safety and efficiency, and providing Internet connectivity for passengers (Bombardier, Cisco customer). As providers seek to cut global healthcare costs and enable outsourced medical services and home-based treatment, the global market for telemedicine is expected to grow 18.6 percent annually through 2015 according to BCC.

These considerable leaps in technology require equal or greater leaps in the education provided to those who operate and maintain these advanced systems. According to a report from Georgetown University: America needs more workers with college degrees, certificates and industry certifications. If we don't address this need now, millions of jobs can and will go offshore. By 2018, 63 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary education beyond high school. The highest proportion of Bachelor's degree jobs and graduate jobs will be concentrated in the northeastern states while jobs for high school graduates or dropouts will be concentrated in the southern states. These transformations will create both challenges and unprecedented job opportunities requiring new and unique skills.

The Necessary Talent Transformation

Aligning education and skills to new business realities will become a necessity. The industry needs to shift to outcome-based education that produces these new skills to prepare students to work in in-demand areas. New skills are needed including innovation, problem solving, global awareness, collaboration and communication. Organizations supporting the development of a large pool of these skills will have a global competitive advantage

World population growth will have broad reaching and unexpected effects on students and the skills they need to function in an increasingly globalizing economy. Preparing the next generation to live and work in a rapidly transforming economy will present unique challenges and opportunities. Students that can adapt to an increasingly globalized environment, understand the broad-reaching impacts of their decisions, and capitalize on change and turn it into an advantage will stand to become the leaders of tomorrow's networked economy.