Ep 3- If Skills are Outdated after Five Years, What Does that Mean for MBAs?

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Do you remember when you graduated from university? I do. On graduation day I remember thinking, “I’m done! I’m finished! I’ll never have to take another class.”

I was confident I wouldn’t be spending more money or investing the time and effort to get another degree. After all, 20+ years ago most jobs only required a Bachelor’s.

Part of the reason I did a master’s was to get a promotion. During one of my Master’s courses, my professor told me I should consider getting a Ph.D. and go into teaching.

Aside from my graduate degrees, I’ve taken countless classes and completed other professional training since then.

The Half-Life of a Learned Skill is FIVE Years

A report issued by the World Economic Forum in 2020 stated that the half-life of a learned skill is about five years. This means that five years from now your current skill set will only be worth half as much as it is today. It also implies that 10 years from now your skills may only be worth about a quarter of their current value.

For someone who obtained their MBA or Ph.D, 10 years ago does that mean their degree is only worth 25%? Maybe. But then again, someone who earned an advanced degree 10 years ago has probably learned a lot from working during the last decade.

Nevertheless, this does raise the question of the need for continuing training and upskilling even after obtaining a degree, regardless of the level.

If you aren’t convinced, think about the jobs that didn’t exist a decade ago.

Jobs That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

Ten years ago Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter were in their infancy. Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat didn’t even exist. Ten years ago, there was no such thing as a social media manager. Now, that is one of the most in-demand jobs around.

Ten years ago the sharing economy was just getting started. Now the companies that oversee the sharing economy have expanded exponentially.

AirBnB still calls itself a vacation rental company but it’s grown to include other tourism activities and leisure experiences. Uber doesn’t even claim to be a ridesharing company anymore. It calls itself a technology company and offers other services like food and package delivery as well as electric scooter and bicycle rentals.

Other jobs that weren’t around 10 years ago? Mobile app developers. Podcast producers. SEO specialists. Data scientists. Cryptocurrency and blockchain positions. And many more.

Admittedly, many of these positions are tied to new developments in technology. Does that mean everyone needs to overhaul their technology skills on an ongoing basis? No. But, there is something to be said for staying up to date on changes and doing some upskilling. And to a large extent, every organization is part technology company these days, so there is no escaping it.

One in Four Adults Don’t Have the Skills Needed to Perform Their Current Job

According to that World Economic Forum report, 1 in 4 adults reported a mismatch between their current skills and the skills needed to complete their current job duties.

Bridging the Gap Between Skill Deficiency and Skills Required

There are a few things you can do to keep your skills up-to-date.

France Introduces Personal Training Account Legislation

In 2015, the French government established the Compte Personnel de Formation (the CPF). CPF stands for Personal Training Account.  The French government introduced this in an effort to provide ongoing training for its citizens and workers. 

The CPF is similar to a retirement account. Employers contribute to an individual learning account for an employee as soon as they join the workforce. The account is fully transferable throughout an individual’s working life, so it goes with them from job to job.

The CPF allows individuals to determine the type of training they would like to pursue. It allows them to improve skills and even earn additional certificates or diplomas. Employers are required to contribute to their employees’ CPFs, but it is entirely up to the discretion of the worker if, when, and how they would like to take advantage of the CPF.

Currently, France’s CPF is the only internationally mandated individual learning account that workers can build up throughout their careers.

Upskilling on Your Own Dime

While the CPF isn’t available worldwide, there are countless upskilling opportunities available. Some free resources include:

Never Stop Learning

Tertiary degrees are valuable. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the skills that you learn in university will sustain you for the next 20 or 30 years of your career. 

Never stop learning. Research has proven the workforce is continually changing and the skills you have now aren’t going to hold you forever.

Start planning for the future now. Work on skills you are most likely to need in the future because if you are stagnant, you aren’t really standing still, you’re actually moving backward.