An instructor watches as students practice welding at the Knight School of Welding in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, on Thursday, Dec 3, 2020 Photographer: Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Labor market experts are calling for 2021 to be the year the United States revises its social contract

Covid-19 exposed the holes in America’s social safety net, but the federal government’s $ 3 trillion stimuli were not meant to fix them Saadia Zahidi, executive director of the World Economic Forum, told POLITICO’s Global Translations podcast, “This is the moment to reserve part of the support for investing in the future””

Marianne Wanamaker, a professor of economics at the University of Tennessee and a former member of President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, is more concerned about education than more layoffs in 2021 With no skills better suited to post-Covid economics, Millions could find that new work is going to robots and other labor-saving technologies instead, she said

With 85 million Americans struggling to pay basic household expenses today and 10 million fewer jobs than a year ago, Zahidi and Wanamaker said it was time for the U.S. Government to formulate a great deal to help American workers retool for the insecure but green and digital economy that awaits them

“There is a skill mismatch and it is growing. There needs to be a much greater focus on retraining and development,” Zahidi said”Most governments are not thinking wisely about tomorrow’s markets and tomorrow’s jobs right now,” she added. What makes America unique is that it has the resources to do something about it – to help individual workers and employers to make smarter long-term decisions

“It’s not just handouts” but “a path from A to B to C” that people need to land on their feet, Zahidi said employers need support just as much as workers “when they’re not through vacation – or government-backed income support programs, they really make short-term decisions, “she said

In the past few decades, advanced economies have grown, but often without jobs. Therefore, according to Zahidi, “we can no longer expect our societies to function unless we address it directly”

The WEF says more technology-driven jobs will be created than jobs will be lost in the next five years, but workers will need additional skills and access to training so they can turn around when needed

The difficulty is that individual workers often do not have the information or resources needed to regularly update their skills throughout their careers, while authorities have also struggled to predict changes in the labor market: from underestimation on how many workers would be left behind by outsourcing to the point of completely ignoring the disruptive opportunities of a pandemic

Wanamaker says that “it is impossible to predict tomorrow’s skill needs” – meaning governments, for example, shouldn’t run vanity projects where people learn to code – but it does play a role in “raising the finances of retraining juicing “”

“In general, we’ve found employers to see the business case,” said Zahidi. While retraining is usually more cost-effective than months of searching for a new employee, it’s easy for employers to reduce the up-front cost of training, especially during the uncertainty of a pandemic

Some companies are already making large investments in skills without government support: PWC developed a $ 3 billion retraining program in 2020, and Amazon hired more than 100 in 2020000 new employees while upgrading existing employees

These investments could lead to increasing inequality if governments remain on the sidelines and small business workers, low-skilled workers and the unemployed miss out on these training opportunities

The risk is real: National debt is rising and many civil servants have “a pretty firm stance on what people and human skills are all about I think we’re giving up on people,” Zahidi said

Becky Frankiewicz, CEO of Manpower North America, said nudge is often all that is needed to improve a worker’s skills. By identifying “skill neighborhoods,” employers and their employees can help shape career paths through a sector through “quick, short bursts of training in the workplace,” she said. According to WEF research, 85 percent of people can retrain to jobs with related skills within a few weeks

The National Skills Coalition, supported by a number of foundations and large corporations, including J.P Morgan and Deloitte urge the new Biden administration to actively invest in competencies. “Better let us down by getting everyone involved,” said Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of NSC. “That means making sure that people’s essential needs are met as they train for new jobs, new industries, and technologies ”

Wanamaker agrees and sees the 2020 expanded unemployment insurance program – “the famous one where we gave people $ 600 a week on top of their state unemployment insurance” – as a trial run for broader universal basic income systems “even after the pandemic ends we will all remember the moment we said, “Wait, everyone makes this amount of money to pay for accommodation and food,” she said

With a total of US. GDP is unlikely to exceed pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021 The high unemployment rate could last well into 2022. “Traditionally, a labor market recovery takes a full year after production has recovered,” said Wanamaker, suggesting investing in a new safety net now if Biden is to see results in 2022 / p>


World News – AU – Workers are fighting for skills support during pandemic