Are you prepared? The time window to upskill is NOW!

The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts 75 million jobs to be lost until 2022 due to AI and increasing automation and proclaims a new skillset necessary by 2022. Companies are letting go thousands of people by the week and corporate giants like Google announce new critical skills in line with the WEF data that are needed immediately to persist on the job market. The new skills wanted take us back to who we are as humans, a call-out to re-orientate to the core of what defines us – creative potential AND mutually an alarm bell reminding those who haven’t heard it yet, to start their retraining now, the clock is ticking and you want to be ahead of it.

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Not long ago the majority of employees didn’t want to hear about increasing digitalisation and AI on the rise within their job segment – maybe in production, but surely not in banking, not in my business is what you could hear. Reality is now catching up with herd disbelief in this immediate threat to their job situation. “What we observe in people is a general denial of reality through ignoring the facts which are no longer ignorable”, Laura Muller, trainer and partner at Council for Human Development (CHD) says. She elaborates “for years statistics and studies from renowned institutions like Oxford University[1] or the WEF[2] have pointed out clearly that we will see mass redundancies in the millions by the early 2020s; so here we are with Corona as an accelerator to this trend and millions of people facing a new job market that they are not prepared for.”


Let’s have a look at the facts:

The 2018 report by the WEF not only predicts the loss of around 75million jobs by the end of next year (!), it also finds that 42% of existing workforce skills need to shift and calls it a “reskilling imperative” defining a very precise skill set necessary to be able to get one of the new jobs that will come through new mechanisms in place on the labour market. What are these new skills we need?

What is really prominent is the new focus on “human skills” as they call it, which include creativity, initiative, originality, emotional intelligence and critical thinking. Why the WEF is calling out for those skills,- endorsed by giants as Google who very recently has announced that empathy is the skill of the future[3]-, is because the explicit focus of our thinking has been left-brain in the past and still is when looking at the way our education systems are structured. Left-brain or process- thinking fosters the analytical perspective, while right-brain thinking fosters creative and empathic thinking. Each extreme is incomplete, only when combined, which in the neuro-world is called hemispherical synchronisation, an optimum and balanced use of brain capacity can take place.

With an increase of AI and automation it becomes vital for us humans to level up the skills that AI doesn’t have, and these are right-brain skills. Laura Muller

“It is what makes us human: the ability to feel empathy, to critically question, to emotionally design and creatively combine to actually innovate without a process-context, to take a quantum leap and redesign new worlds and ways of living that cannot be constructed robotically as it requires the human spark of creation which doesn’t follow an algorithmic logic, but just flows. It is this flow innate to us humans we have to unleash now, to upskill and to use the original potential we all hold. The time is now, there is no waiting, we as CHD feel the market urgency and we are ready to support in this process of much-required retraining, being aware of the big shift that is taking place right now, right in front of us”, she points out.


"Social influence" is another new key skill required that as a basis itself needs emotional intelligence and empathic understanding to be used wisely and not destructively. Laura further states that “these new skills are not fancy buzzwords, they are the core of human being and the recent call-out for an increase in these skills shows us how far most people have distanced themselves from what their core is and how deeply they have given in to process-driven thinking and working, neglecting their innate potential which lies in those skills now wanted. It is nothing new, it is just to be rediscovered, which can be done with intense training using introspection, guidance and community to manifest these new skills through application, calibration and constant deepening. With this kind of retraining we will experience new levels of creativity, communication and confidence within people that will allow them – for a first time – to go beyond what they thought they could do thereby bringing true innovation and creativity to the business world and moreover, to themselves as a race.”


The WEF report confirms what she is saying; stating that 54% of all employees need to upskill and therefore require intense and long-term training over a course of 6-12 months as the WEF expects. Although a majority of companies still believes their employees have to get that training by themselves, it is a fact that training as such needs to come from somewhere and needs to be given by someone.

If companies continue to refuse their social and entrepreneurial responsibility to train their workforce – which most likely won’t be able to do it on their own – companies not only miss out on a huge opportunity when it comes to corporate culture and particularly loyalty behaviour, but also and specifically when it comes to competitive advantage they are missing out on if they deny their workforce the much wanted and needed opportunity for upskilling through retraining now.

The WEF identifies the timeframe to upskill to last until 2022 before a major shift in skill requirements will have reached the labour market and affect those who haven’t started their training in upskilling yet.

The new skills required go very deep, and that is good as what is deep can actually last and bring sustainable change. This is what the current labour market needs and it goes back to what it is built on: the people, us. “Potential is original and not replicable as it remains unique to the person, while it allows for direct multiplication when combined with someone else’s. There is no competition in potential as such, only opportunity, which enables it to catapult today’s world into a new age of interaction and behaviour thereby determining everything new”, Laura says.

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No doubt, we are at the beginning of a new age of work, and we are seeing the evidence coming in from big organisations and institutions proclaiming the immediate need for intense retraining of a majority of their workforce. The Council for Human Development (CHD) is one of the early organisations that has focused on deep retraining for a while now and sees an increasing interest from business and private individuals noticing that the time to act is now.

“When we work with businesses, we offer customised retraining programs that give the biggest benefit on all levels involved and allow to widen it step-by-step as they go. Many companies hold retraining budgets they don’t know what to do with, we have an answer that is not standard but cut to their exact needs, covering all levels and going beyond what any high-level training could do as we give them the tools to keep on living it at work and at home, which makes it sustainable and credible”, Kern Frost co-founder and trainer at CHD explains.


With this change taking place, great opportunity lies in front of us all and on many levels and as always with opportunity, once you see you can take it and change the game. During certain times greater change is possible than in others, and this is definitely one of them.


For more information please visit our website or download the free pdf [Addressing Human Resource Issues for 2021, copyright CHD 2021].

April 2021


[1]Osborne, B. & Frey, M., The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?, Oxford University; 17.09.2013.[2] The Future of Jobs Report, Centre for the New Economy and Society, WEF, 2018.[3] Business World, Empathy is the Skill of the Future, 4.2.2021.

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