About 30 million people in 249 countries and territories, of which close to 6 million are from Asia Pacific have gained access to digital skills during lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) according to Microsoft Corp.
In a statement, the American multinational technology giant said “millions of people turned to online learning courses from GitHub, LinkedIn and Microsoft during the pandemic to help prepare for and secure the most in-demand roles, including customer service, project management and data analysis.” Microsoft said some of the online learners were laid-off factory workers, retail associates and even truck drivers.
The latest figure tops its initial goal of 25 million last June. Microsoft Corp. said it is also extending its commitment to help 250,000 companies globally make a skills-based hire in 2021.
Microsoft said the digital learning drive is one way for the company to help people cope up during the pandemic by extending through 2021 free LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn courses and low-cost certifications that align to the 10 of the most in-demand jobs and connect skilled job seekers with employers.
“Skills will be the new currency in the post-pandemic world. Over the past year, we’ve seen the pandemic affect people all across the world, including those who could bear it the least,” said Microsoft Asia President Ahmed Mazhari said.
“For us to emerge stronger from the pandemic, reskilling needs to be at the center of our economic reset. Together with LinkedIn, we are doubling down our efforts to re-design work in the region by supporting the development of a more inclusive skills-based labor market, creating more alternatives, greater flexibility, and accessible learning paths that connect people more readily with new job opportunities.”
Professional networking platform LinkedIn said it plans to help 250,000 companies globally make skills-based hires this year through new and existing hiring products. It said it will provide both new ways for job seekers to demonstrate their skills and new tools for employers to connect to candidates based on their skill proficiencies including the pilot of LinkedIn Skills Path, which helps companies hire for skills.
Microsoft is also supplementing LinkedIn’s work to promote far-reaching digital skills opportunities, including Career Coach, a Microsoft Teams for Education app powered by LinkedIn that provides personalized guidance for higher education students to navigate their career journey. Career Coach offers educational institutions a unified career solution for students to help them discover their goals, interests and skills using an AI-based skills identifier and LinkedIn integration that aligns a student’s comprehensive profile with job market trends and helps them grow real-world skills and connect with mentors and peers all in one place.
Olivier Legrand, Managing Director & Vice-President, Asia Pacific & China, LinkedIn said, “More and more, we are seeing skills-based hiring becoming critical in our world of work. We’ve seen people across the globe express a desire to learn and build their skills, and organizations too, are hiring based on skills instead of traditional qualifications. LinkedIn, together with Microsoft, are committed to helping everyone shift towards a skills-based economy. In 2021, we will continue our efforts to equip jobseekers with the right resources to pick up new skills, and connect them to opportunities, as well as aim to help 250,000 organizations make a skills-based hire.”
Microsoft said it has worked closely with its nonprofit partners to help provide wrap-around support with coaching, mentoring and networking to nearly 6 million learners worldwide. Microsoft will apply these lessons more broadly and is announcing a new online service, Career Connector, that will provide 50,000 job seekers worldwide with the opportunity to secure a tech-enabled job over the next three years. It will focus on learners who have built skills via Microsoft’s nonprofit and learning partners, with an emphasis on women and underrepresented minorities in technology. – Rommel F. Lopez