Ready for change? – Employer’s role in skills development

Hand drawing purple and blue light pixels in the air

The rapid change of working life is a hot topic right now. As the pace of change seems to accelerate, it can be difficult to grasp the big picture and understand what the biggest changes will be and how they will impact the specific skill needs of different industries. The topic evokes many emotions:  concerns and frustration, but also excitement and anticipation.  What changes will impact the evolution of your industry?  How will they affect the daily activities of your employees? What about medium or long-term strategic planning?

Skills anticipation is a way to prepare for changes that seem inevitable. Skills anticipation refers to preparing for future skills requirements and making choices related to them.1 Workplaces that provide their employees time and opportunities to update their skills or learn entirely new ones, alongside their operative work, can gain a significant competitive advantage.2 If skills development increases productivity, resulting in greater work efficiency, new innovations, and motivated employees, then the investment is worth it.

By 2040, the basic skills needed in working life will include cybersecurity skills, multicultural skills, sustainability skills, management of remote and virtual services, digitalisation skills, technology expertise, and skills for continuous learning.3 These basics skills form the foundation upon which new industry-specific skills needs are built. We all have room for improvement, but luckily, we do not have to tackle the challenge alone.

Our contribution to this important discussion is the creation of a regional forum for North Karelian companies that supports skills anticipation. The companies will receive the latest information on weak signals that will affect working life and how to proactively utilise this information to develop business and staff’s skills. The forum also provides a platform for companies to network, learn from each other, share good practices, and find new business partners. The forum is open to all North Karelian companies and other parties interested in developing working life.

The forum’s kick-off will be held in Joensuu on 28-29 August 2024. The event is organised in cooperation with the international LITHME network. The LITHME network (Language in the Human-Machine Era) focuses on the emergence of new language technologies which bring humans and machines even closer to each other. Their aim is to help language researchers prepare for the future and facilitate dialogue between linguists and technology developers.

You can read more on LITHME here.

We will update you on the kick-off during the summer so stay tuned!

Date and location: 28-29 August, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu

Original text in Finnish: Project manager Anna Logrén

Translation: Project secretary Oona Järvinen


1 Jatkuvan oppimisen ja työllisyyden palvelukeskus 2024. Mitä on ennakointitieto. (, Retrieved 8.4.2024

2 Ks. Ranki, Sinimaaria 2021. Mitä seuraa, jos työntekijöiden osaamiseen ei panosteta? Teoksessa Millä hinnalla? Osaamisen kehittämisen vaihtoehtoiskustannukset (2021). Toim. Perttu Jämsén ja Sinimaaria Ranki. Sitran selvityksiä 186.

3 Opetushallitus 2023. Laaja-alaisen osaamisen muutos vuoteen 2040. (, Retrieved 8.4.2024.