We Must Build A Future Workforce For ALL

The latest Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum suggests that the rapid evolution of machines and algorithms in the workplace could create 133 million new roles between now and 2022.

That’s a heck of a lot of jobs to fill.

This is a great problem to have, but a problem none the less if we are not in a position to take advantage of the opportunity. According to the quarterly Gartner Emerging Risks Survey, talent shortage rated as one of the top three emerging risks that organizations face globally. In 2018, the ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey noted that employers are struggling to fill open jobs, with 45% globally reporting that they can’t find the skills they need.

While I believe the data and have seen this challenge play out firsthand, I’m also a firm believer that in a world with 7.5+ billion people, there are plenty of talented individuals with the will to succeed in these emerging jobs.

As business leaders, it’s our responsibility, and a business necessity, to prepare our workforce – those here today and those coming tomorrow. And we can’t afford to leave anyone out. We must arm those with the will to succeed with the skills to succeed.

Here are five approaches we’re taking to prepare our future workforce.

Engage students early and often.

Dell Technologies has invested nearly $70 million in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs over the last five years. The programs provide students access to technology and educational programming. Many students around the world just require ongoing exposure and encouragement to enter into STEM fields. There’s an expression that says, “if you can see it, you can be it.” By sponsoring programs like Girls Who CodeFIRST Robotics and Computer Aid International, we provide both monetary and team member support to initiatives that empower kids to see themselves succeeding in the workforce of the future regardless of their gender, background or socioeconomic status.

Tap into “non-traditional” talent pools that could get overlooked.

People on the autism spectrum often have key skills required for success in the tech industry – attention to detail and strong math skills for example. However, sources estimate that as many as 90% of adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed. Given this fact, in partnership with HMEAThe Arc of the Capital Area and Neurodiverisity in the Workplace, we’ve  established a neurodiversity hiring initiative in Massachusetts. Due to the positive experience, we recently expanded the program to Texas. Our Neurodiversity Hiring Program provides career readiness training for individuals on the autism spectrum, with the potential for full-time career opportunities in critical areas such as cyber-security, data analytics, software engineering, artificial intelligence and more.

We also recognize the incredible talents and skills of military veterans and their spouses and actively work to recruit, train, and hire from this often-overlooked talent pool. Military veterans and spouses too often struggle to convey the many transferrable skills they possess. With characteristics like discipline, commitment and loyalty, we know the veteran community is a highly skilled talent pool and we are fortunate to have them as part of our Dell Technologies family.

Skill and reskill the workforce to help eager non-techies and techies alike  

The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report notes that the skills required to perform most jobs will shift by 42% leading up to 2022. We actively look for ways to skill and reskill not just our current employees, but the future talent pool as well. We joined Northeastern University’s Align program, which is designed to serve women and underrepresented minorities from non-IT fields who are pursuing master’s degrees in computer science. We also committed to the Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Partnership Challenge and launched Project Immersion, a program where we work with minority serving institutions and other universities to establish curriculum and provide our employees as guest instructors. This college/corporate partnership ensures students have relevant and valuable skills upon graduation and universities accomplish high placement rates – a win for all parties.

Recent research from McKinsey shows that between 40 million and 160 million women globally may need to transition between occupations by 2030, often into higher-skilled roles. We’ve partnered with the Society of Women Engineers and iRelaunch to provide job coaching and training for new and potential hires to ensure they are up to speed on the latest and greatest trends and information related to their fields and industries. We call the program Dell Career ReStart. Once hired, we offer 1:1 role and career mentoring and additional coaching and support to ensure that our employees have the best chance for accelerated success.

Solve big problems together.

Not one company is immune from the talent shortage so it’s critical we work together to share best practices, resources and solutions for meaningful change.

Dell Technologies was recently invited to join the Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable, a way to share best practices and resources with other organizations and corporations who have autism hiring initiatives. As an organization committed to bringing diverse perspectives to the table, investing in hiring and training adults with autism is not only the right thing to do, it makes clear business sense.

We were also a founding member of the Veteran Jobs Mission, which brings together companies committed to hiring, training, and providing career success opportunities to U.S. military veterans and military spouses.

We’re also involved with the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, which seeks to double the number of women of color graduating with computing degrees by 2025.  We are proud to be one of the twelve founding companies which committed more than $12 million to this goal, which represents a 30X increase in funding. Membership in Reboot continues to grow.

We also joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion Coalition to work across our industry and more broadly on cultural and gender issues in the workplace.

Culture matters.

Our goal has always been to build an environment where team members can be themselves and where different perspectives, ideas and backgrounds are valued. Our team members have told us we’re on the right track. We were recently recognized by LinkedIn as a 2019 Top Company and by FairyGodBoss as a Top 10 Tech Company according to women working at Dell Technologies. But there is still much work to do and there is no quick fix.

Progress requires a long-term view, systemic changes across the entire talent continuum, and new partnerships that bring peers together to create impact with scale. This is a journey, but our mission is very clear, and this will continue to be a key focus as we look toward 2030.

About the Author: Dell Technologies