THE U.S. MANUFACTURING SECTOR HAS HAD AN INCREDIBLE run over the past few decades. Fueled by technological progress and automation, our factories today produce more than twice as much as they did in 1984 and their value-added output is at an all-time high. But there are signs that all is not well. Since the so-called Great Recession of 2007-2009, the decades-long, meteoric rise in industrial output per worker has plateaued and productivity growth has stalled. It is a challenge that can’t be solved with better technology alone. Fundamentally, it is about people and skills.
About the Authors
Caralynn Nowinski Collens, M.D., serves as the Chief Executive Officer of UI LABS, a first-of-its-kind innovation accelerator designed to transform entire industries through collaboration. UI LABS solves large-scale challenges by bringing University + Industry together with startups and government to accelerate the deployment of emerging digital technologies, currently focused on digital manufacturing and smart infrastructure. Drawing from her past experiences as an entrepreneur, researcher, and venture capitalist, Collens leads UI LABS’ efforts to foster innovation, encourage collaboration, and drive economic growth. UI LABS is an ML Council member.
Rebekah Kowalski leads Right Management’s (NYSE: MAN) workforce strategy practice. In her role, Kowalski is chartered with creating talent, leadership, and workforce solutions that enable organizational growth. Kowalski is frequently featured in publications providing commentary on the changing skills landscape and participates on the boards of various non-profits focused on the linkage between economic growth and availability of talent.
According to ManpowerGroup’s research, more than 90% of employers expect their organization to be impacted by digitization in the next two years. That translates directly into skills requirements. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2020, more than one-third of in-demand skill sets in most fields will require skills that aren’t considered essential to the job today. Taking a longer-term view, about 65% of the jobs Gen Z will do don’t even exist yet! It is fair to say the technological revolution has led to a Skills Revolution.