What are the Challenges to Upskilling the Global Workforce?

27 September 2023

In the modern workplace, enterprises are faced with the monumental task of upskilling workers to prepare them for the digital economy. Global workforces are expected to face immense headcount problems as companies shift to new skillsets and pay higher wages for newly trained workers.

These efforts require companies to adopt innovative solutions to rapidly and continuously upskill workers across their employment journey. Many have begun turning to virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) solutions with low and no-code features to tackle the ongoing challenges.

These efficient, scalable, and customisable training solutions also work to democratise immersive technologies by providing greater accessibility to content for companies.

No longer do firms need to budget thousands just to build virtual training modules but can create Extended Reality-based (XR) curricula on-the-fly with generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) tools.

Employers can now develop exercises in real-time, tailored to the performance and needs of the learner. GenAI has also offered unprecedented access to bespoke virtual worlds, attention tracking, learner assessment, and real-time 3D (RT3D) content interactions with learners.

The Figures and Facts on XR and Skill-building

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 1.37 million workers will become displaced from their roles over the next ten years, costing employers $34 billion, or $24,800 per worker.

The STEM skills gap costs £1.5bn per year in the UK (IMechE). Without access to modern, cutting-edge facilities and the means of flexible learning in an ever-demanding world it is unlikely the skills gap can be addressed in the higher education sector.

Furthermore, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reports that 66 percent of American companies over the next four years plan to adopt virtual and augmented reality technologies.

Finally, The XR Association (XRA) found that human resource (HR) professionals had prioritised training and upskilling at 46 percent of respondents. This was followed by securing high-quality talent and boosting workplace diversity training at 42 and 35 percent, respectively.

Meta Platforms’ XR University Initiative

In addition to new tools, advancements in XR have sparked massive learning and development (L&D) initiatives, with Meta Platforms already collaborating with 15 universities across the US.

The joint effort aims to demonstrate the strengths of XR education and how it can boost learner retention, engagement, and sustainability rates. By doing so, the Menlo Park-based firm can develop a platform for sharing insights on learner usage, app performance, and solution development.

Inside and outside the classroom, many companies and organisations are catching on to the benefits of XR. By sharing collective data and experiences with partner organisations on virtual collaboration, performance analytics, and user experiences (UX), companies can enjoy greater employee learning outcomes, along with faster time-to-market for their product lifecycles.

ARuVR® and XR Learning Standards

Along with Meta, ARuVR® has been leading the charge on augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) training for major multinationals like Five Guys, BT, Coca-Cola, NEOM, Bloomberg, and many others.

Their successful Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), G-Cloud 13, and Crown Commercial Service (CCS) accreditations have also provided examples where XR firms can standardise their own operations, and upskill enterprise internal teams enabling and empowering them to become a XR experts in days. By receiving these quality benchmarks, startups and major enterprises alike can follow suit on interoperability, security, functionality, and research and development (R&D).

With XR firms like ARuVR®, Moth and Flame, Motive.io, CGS, and others laying the groundwork for immersive learning, the XR community is fighting to remove barriers to empowering the global workforce. XR learning, no matter the subject, can become a tour de force capable of upskilling workers and resolving the employment skill set crisis.

This article first appeared in XR Today, 27th September 2023