Written by Vahé Torossian, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft
As I travel across Europe and meet with customers, partners and government officials, one thing is crystal clear: technology innovation is changing the world around us at blistering speed, impacting our citizens’ employability and our region’s competitiveness. As all businesses becomes more digital, the jobs landscape is changing, and the skills gap is growing across all industries. New technologies are driving a decline in low-skilled jobs and creating an urgent need for individuals to upskill and reskill to stay competitive.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that automation and AI could displace 75 million jobs by 2022, while creating another 133 million new roles, as companies rework the division of labor between humans and machines. These new specialist roles are likely to include titles such as AI and Machine Learning Specialist, Big Data Specialist, Process Automation Expert, Human-Machine Interaction Designer, and many more. The possibilities are fascinating, but the truth is a harsh one: at our current pace, there likely won’t be enough skilled workers to fill them. In fact, the European Commission believes there could be as many as 756,000 unfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020.
That is why skills development is at the core of Microsoft’s mission to empower everyone and every organization to achieve more. And so, by June 2020, my team is committing to help 1.3 million people across Western Europe develop new technical skills. With this initiative, we aim to help individuals improve their employability, create new business opportunities, and fuel economic growth in their communities and across the region. Trainings, which will be offered free of charge both online via Microsoft Learn and in-person in our 12 major markets across the region, will help people become technically skilled and/or certified on Microsoft’s Azure, Dynamics and Microsoft 365 cloud platforms.
As one of the world’s biggest tech providers, we feel a deep responsibility to help our customers, partners and our own employees upskill or reskill so that they can thrive in a workforce where the demands on them are changing fast. Meeting these demands requires what we call “skills intensity.” It’s only by keeping ahead of this pace of change, by having this intense focus on tech skills, that we will be able to maximize the positive impact that technology can have to shape the future for the better.
Starting this month, Microsoft has begun trainings and certifications for developers, system administrators, consultants, cloud architects and more technical profiles. Online trainings will enable them to:
- Understand Cloud Fundamentals, to manage Cloud environments for greater business impact (reducing cost, managing risk, creating new revenue streams & more) in both commercial and public sector organizations
- Master the technical skills required to become Microsoft Certified as an Associate or Expert in highly demanded areas such as AI, AppDev, Analytics, DevOps or Security
- Engage in hands-on and hackathon lab experiences based on real customer scenarios, to gain practical knowledge on how to transition to and scale in the Microsoft Cloud
In-person trainings will cover many of the same skills, but will also offer tailored trainings for 87,000 people, including individuals working for our customers and partners, designed to help them achieve specific goals, based on their business or learning needs.
Everyone in our Western Europe organization takes seriously our mission to empower every individual and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and our commitment to skills development is one way we are working hard to deliver on that mission. It is our hope that these trainings will help unemployed people find jobs, help already skilled professionals grow into more rewarding jobs, help our customers and partners identify new business models or opportunities for growth, and help European governments and institutions accelerate their digitization, for the benefit of all.
For more information on the trainings available, please visit Microsoft Learn. This is the first in a series of articles I will write to explore the importance of skills development and life-long learning. Therefore, please share your thoughts on tech intensity and the skilling needs in your industry. I’d love to hear from you.