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New world. New skills.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated technological change that was already reshaping how we work. As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic emerging technologies and increased automation continue to drive the digitalisation of business and fundamentally change the way many jobs are carried out.

To thrive in this new world, each and every person deserves to have the awareness, understanding and capability to adapt to technological change.

We need to think differently about our skills, how we couple with new technologies, and most importantly, how we keep up. But not everyone needs to learn to code. Our humanity, integrity and creativity are key.

At PwC we are building a citizen-led transformation. We are asking our people to disrupt the way we work, to innovate and co-create.

Our US$3bn upskilling investment is designed to empower our people and communities. Because when you make the world a more resilient, more capable, more inclusive place -- breakthroughs happen, value is created, entire new industries are born.

Upskilling is more than just providing access to training.

Upskilling: Bridging the Digital Divide

Upskilling for the digital world has become a priority for society, organisations and governments. The world is at an inflection point, and we need to act now, collectively, to tackle this major, global issue before we risk excluding entire elements of society from the workplace. "Bridging the Digital Divide".

Duration: 00:07:55

Workers want more digital skills, more inclusivity, and more flexibility 

We asked more than 32,500 workers to share their hopes and fears. Here’s what they told us:


upskilling and reskilling

The reskill appetite 

Despite workers knowing automation will affect their jobs the majority are keen to reskill and learn new technology. 

  • 59% of Australian respondents are worried that automation is putting people’s jobs at risk. However 60% agree technology presents more opportunities than risks. 
  • 75% of Australian respondents are ready to learn new skills or completely re-train in order to remain employable in the future. 
  • 82% of Australian respondents are confident they can adapt to new technology entering their workplace - 34% are very confident.
future of work is hybrid

The future of work is here

With more possibilities from remote work, a hybrid working model is in demand. As leaders reimagine the offices of tomorrow, we expect the focus to be on increasing space where people can initiate, develop, and strengthen relationships. 

  • 49% of Australian respondents say they feel positive about the future world of work and what it means for them.
  • 41% of Australian respondents say their ideal future work environment is mostly virtual - 60% prefer hybrid working (a mix of face-to-face and virtual working). 
  • 56% say there are elements of their current job that they could perform remotely (including by using advanced technology).
workplace inclusivity

Inclusivity is key

A diverse workforce and deliberate inclusion efforts help drive better outcomes—through different perspectives, creative thinking, and open collaboration—that can lead to the broader economic development of our society, which benefits everyone.

  • 43% of workers say they’ve faced discrimination at work, which led to them missing out on career advancement or training.
  • 20% were passed over because of their age — with younger workers just as likely as older people to be affected.
  • 13% of workers have experienced discrimination on the grounds of gender, with women more than twice as likely to report gender discrimination as men.
workplace purpose

Sense of purpose

People want to work for purpose-driven companies  — but not at any price

  • 75% of Australian workers say they want to work for an organisation that will make a ‘positive contribution to society’. 
  • 51% said, if forced to choose, they would prefer a job that enabled them to ‘take every opportunity to maximise their income’ over a job that ‘makes a difference’ (49%).

How to start upskilling

The digital revolution requires a skills revolution. The skills revolution is about helping people build their digital awareness, understanding and skills to fully participate in the digital world — and it needs to start now. 

At PwC, we are working with other organisations across the world, building on our work with clients and on upskilling our 276,000 people around the globe. Still, more must be done if we are to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn, work and participate in the digital world. This is at the heart of our purpose.


How do organisations upskill?

Organisations are transforming their workforces to drive productivity, innovation and growth. Upskilling is key. It’s about anticipating the right skills for the future, laying the cultural foundation, delivering modern upskilling programmes, and building a learning and development function with the right EdTech to deliver a vastly better return on upskilling investment.

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How is PwC reaching those at risk of being left behind?

The digital divide is already a significant global problem and is at risk of getting worse if we aren’t successful in helping those currently excluded from the workforce and the next generation to build the right skills. We are working to reach those where the need is greatest.

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How can businesses, governments and institutions work together on this complex issue?

Solutions to the challenge of upskilling will need to be developed at the local, regional and national level, and no one organisation can do this alone. Government leaders and policymakers need to ensure that citizens have the knowledge to participate, and they themselves have the knowledge to drive discussion on the future of technology and regulation. Institutions, such as those that make up the education system, need to digitally transform themselves and at the same time provide services that are fit for the future.   

You can learn about our approach to this new initiative globally or read about PwC’s local involvement in reshaping skills alongside the Federal Government through Skills for Australia.

The need to upskill is a complex problem that will require decision-makers — educators, national, regional and local government administrators and business leaders — to come together. If you would like to find out more about what we at PwC are doing, get in touch.

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Gain insights

Why PwC?

The most important problems are better solved together. PwC leads the market in identifying and assembling the right mix of collaborators, advisers, subject matter experts and technology, together with our people, to deliver innovative solutions. Through the power of many minds, insights become impact, opportunities become outcomes and Australia prospers.


Contact us

Peter Wheeler

Partner, People & Organisation Consulting, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (3) 8603 6504

Rebecca Smith

Partner, The Difference, PwC Australia

Vishy Narayanan

Asia Pacific Chief Digital & Information Officer, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 407 531 692

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