As the world economy continues to be reinvented by automation and all things digital, a multi-skilled workforce will become even more critical. COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend, creating a need for faster reskilling, an uptake in digital and virtual learning and a sharpened focus on adaptability, agility and innovation at all levels of the organization.


Employers across the globe believe that reskilling is the top talent investment most capable of delivering the highest return on investment. Yet, with more organizations embarking on technological transformation this year, many still report significant skill gaps and some even struggle to identify the skill gaps, according to Mercer's 2020 Global Talent Trends report.


There is also a concerning disconnect between how confident employers and workers are about the current workforce's capability to reskill. Globally, employers surveyed by Mercer believe that just 45% of their current workforce is adaptable to the new world of work, but 78% of employees say they are ready to reskill.


According to Mercer's report, those percentages are similar across Asia, but the situation is slightly better in India. Here, employers believe that 60% of the workforce can adapt, and employees are more confident, with 82% saying they are ready to learn new skills. As the role of employers in India continues to evolve in the face of a global pandemic, it is more important than ever to cultivate a multi-skilled workforce.


The Rise of Reskilling


According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than half of India's workforce will need to be reskilled by 2022 to meet the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To accomplish this feat, the WEF has collaborated with Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Petroleum and Natural Gas of India, and Salil Parekh, CEO of Infosys, to launch the Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap in India.1


Among several initiatives, the task force is rolling out closing the Skills Gap National Accelerators to be launched by WEF member countries, such as India, as part of the organization's Reskilling Revolution.2


The accelerator is a public-private partnership that works to actively address the country's skills gaps by reshaping education and training to meet future workforce needs. At the heart of this is the concept of "lifelong learning," in which India's employers can play a significant part.3 Specifically, employers can commit to help in these three target areas along the spectrum of lifelong learning:


1.   Basic Education: Employers can work with local schools to improve foundational skills of current students in basic literacy, numeracy, digital fluency and financial literacy, as well as social and emotional skills.


2.   Higher Education, Technical and Vocational Training: Employers can partner with institutions to ensure that curricula development is informed by market-demanded skills, and they can also provide internships and apprenticeships to students.


3.   Adult Learning: In partnership with educational institutions, training providers and India's digital reskilling program, employers can support continuous on-the-job learning as well as specific reskilling and upskilling through individual, specific, agile training modules.4


Reskilling Can Be Enhanced With Talent Assessment Tools


Modern talent assessment tools can measure the leadership capabilities not only of new hires but of existing talent within the organization as well. In fact, most employers are leveraging tools such as psychometric assessments and cognitive assessments to measure technical skills and leadership, according to Mercer Mettl's Talent Assessment Practices Report: India.


Psychometric assessments holistically evaluate an individual's personality, behavior and cognitive skills. This provides insight into a person's IQ and EQ — which can be especially helpful, as leaders with high emotional intelligence are more likely to succeed.


Employers can also measure the success of their reskilling efforts by competency-based assessments on both the behavioral and technical side and other methods of seeking feedback including 360-degree feedback.


How Mercer Can Help


With our suite of talent assessment solutions and tools from Mercer Mettl, we can help employers determine the extent of their current skills gaps and evaluate their training needs and existing training effectiveness. With an assessment architecture based on an employer's own particular needs, culture and organizational readiness, an employer can more successfully build and groom the type of multi-skilled workforce needed for the future of work.



1.       Cann, Oliver. "The Reskilling Revolution: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Education for a Billion People by 2030." World Economic Forum, 22 Jan. 2020,

2.       "Closing the Skills Gap Accelerators." World Economic Forum, 2020,

3.       "Closing the Skills Gap 2020: How It Works." World Economic Forum, 2020,

Sukhmeet Singh
Sukhmeet Singh
Career (Talent) and M&A Consulting Leader. Mercer India

Speak with a Mercer consultant