2020 was a most difficult year. The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying social and economic crises impacted us all. While new vaccines provide hope that life will head back toward a pre-pandemic level of stability, the world will never be the same, as many social, technological, and business trends were accelerated by last year’s events.
This is unquestionably true as it relates to technology’s impact on society and efforts to steer technology’s influence through public policy. In the U.S., the incoming Biden administration has a host of priorities that relate to the role of technology. And the recent EU initiative proposing a path forward on trans-Atlantic relations shows other governments are grappling with similar questions, while underscoring the importance of the rules of the road being compatible across borders.
As we look ahead, I want to share some thoughts on key technology policy challenges and the opportunities in front of us.
Workforce Development and Talent
The pandemic and technology intersect acutely in the area of workforce development. Moving forward, more people will be working remotely, even after widespread vaccination. Technology has and will continue to play an important role in that transition.
But the pandemic has also accelerated a strong trend toward demand for new skills. Some of this is due to the emergence of new jobs that leverage technological innovations, but we also see increased need for new skills in non-digital roles.
In order to create economic opportunity for all in our changing world, we need to shift to a skills-based approach to talent instead of one based on pedigree. At Workday, we are doing our part to help businesses transition to a skills-based model, from our participation in the Markle Foundation’s Rework America Alliance and the Business Roundtable’s skills-based initiative, to Workday Talent Marketplace and our product offerings based on Workday Skills Cloud. And through our Tech for Good program, we are leveraging Workday technology for societal impact through our first-of-its-kind partnership with the non-profit organization Opportunity@Work. Using Workday’s Skills Cloud technology, Opportunity@Work is doing two main things—standardizing its skills library to help applicants better demonstrate the skills they possess, and suggesting relevant skills for job postings to help employers better describe the skills they need. This all aids its mission to better match talent to opportunity.