Catch up on these key skills, training and employment stories from Microsoft On the Issues

As digital technology reshapes the workplace, a move toward skills-based training and employment will unlock opportunities for companies and job seekers alike.

While automation and AI are already taking on many routine tasks, demand for people with technology skills is rising fast around the globe.

Getting the right people into the right jobs within the right organizations is one of the biggest challenges facing the world of work. So how can it be overcome? These recent skills-related stories from On the Issues explores this important theme.

In your words: What skills do you want to acquire?

March 2021

LinkedIn skills graphic

To find out what skills job seekers want, Microsoft On the Issues conducted a poll on its LinkedIn page. As of April 9, more than 11,500 people had responded.

Data analysis was one of the most popular choices, although there was a clear recognition of the importance of soft skills, too, including how to perform well in an interview.

As well as giving people a platform to share their personal objectives, the exercise guided respondents toward their own LinkedIn Learning Path. By focusing on particular career destinations, the Learning Paths provide an iterative training plan to help job seekers get the skills they need to develop the necessary proficiencies.

Building a more inclusive skills-based economy: The next steps for our global skills initiative

March 2021

Four people working stock image

In June 2020, Microsoft, inclusive of LinkedIn, committed to reaching 25 million people with their global skills initiative, providing free access on LinkedIn Learning to more than 500 online courses, offering more than 950 hours of content.

In the following months, more than 30 million people across 249 countries and territories got involved. While the U.S. accounted for the largest number of participants, others came from India, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, France, Germany, Canada, Spain and Antarctica.

The next stage of the LinkedIn and Microsoft skills commitment will include more work aimed at school-age children, including Minecraft: Education Edition, a game-based learning platform with thousands of hours of educational content. Plus, for university- or college-age students and educational institutions, Career Coach, a new Teams for Education app, will launch in May 2021.

[READ MORE: Sparking technology across America]

Covid has accelerated a shift in the skills landscape

March 2021

More than 30 million people have acquired digital skills during the pandemic. Speaking at the LinkedIn News livestream, “How can you come out of this pandemic stronger professionally?”, on March 30, Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn, and Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, discussed how the pathways to digital training were created. They also talked about the role of businesses in helping employers and employees.

“Through Covid, there has been a real shift in the underlying labor market,” Roslansky said. “I think employers everywhere are trying to figure out how they find talent in real time for the roles they need in the ever-changing landscape.”

Part of the solution could be in standardizing the terminology people use when thinking about different roles and the skills they require. As Smith told the livestream: “I think there are few things that will be more impactful than enabling employers around the world and people to speak the same language so they can recognize the skills that are needed and recognize the people who have them.”

Everyone should have access to digital skills. New grants aim to help

September 2020

ic stars

In September, Microsoft announced a three-year, $15 million investment in Black- and African American-led nonprofits that teach digital skills to people in their communities.

This story explores the work of I.c. Stars in Chicago and how this rigorous, tech-focused program has provided young adults from low-income communities with the tools to develop the technical and leadership skills needed for a career in technology, a field that continues to lack diversity and be in high demand.

Programs like this are vital to accelerating the distribution of digital skills.

Insights for job seekers from LinkedIn data scientists

August 2020

List of top jobs

In August 2020, we spoke to two data scientists at LinkedIn, who explained how data is providing a clearer picture of the job landscape and how people can equip themselves with the skills employers want.

According to their analysis, top roles include software developer, project manager and data analyst – and all of the 10 most in-demand jobs rely on strong digital skills. Read the full story to see the breakdown and some tips on how job seekers can increase their hiring potential.