In 2024, talent shortages remain a persistent challenge across various industries and regions, affecting businesses and economies worldwide. In fact, according to the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force shrunk in entry-level and leadership talent pools from 2010 to 2020. These ongoing shortages have been further exacerbated by a decrease in the number of individuals pursuing traditional four-year college degrees. As a result, the need for extended learning options and certifications has become increasingly important, influencing the need for education programs to foster new pathways to developing skilled professionals equipped for today’s workforce. 

This changing global workforce that we are experiencing first-hand was a key topic of discussion at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF). The annual meeting brings together some of the most influential leaders from a diverse range of industries to address complex challenges in business, academics, civil society, and more. As some of the world’s most inspiring leaders took the stage at this year’s meeting, a few key themes emerged as global concerns: economic growth and talent development, AI technology, and the need to develop more qualified individuals to fill some of today’s most in-demand roles. 

As we reassess assessment best practices and what the future of the workforce means for credentialing organizations, employers, and job candidates, we can use the key themes discussed at this year’s WEF as a baseline for how to adapt to what’s next. Let’s start by analyzing the 3 key challenges that were shared.

Challenge #1: Developing Better-Skilled and More Qualified Individuals 
Building a better world starts [LC1] with developing a global population that is prepared to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. This includes access to quality education and training, leveraging technology for learning, and creating opportunities through professional development and mentorship. Certification programs play a pivotal role in achieving this by providing flexible testing and learning opportunities to meet the unique needs of different regions. 

Challenge #2: Global Talent Development
Developing talent has become another increasingly significant concern in today’s world. Jobs in education, healthcare, and the trades, among other industries, are seeing a decline in available and skilled talent, increasing the demand to train and develop qualified professionals in these fields. As industries evolve and new challenges arise, the demand for a more diverse workforce continues to grow.

Challenge #3: The Influence of AI in the Workforce
During this year’s WEF, it’s no surprise that there was a strong consensus around the power of AI. From addressing problems such as content creation and equitable access to even more broad global issues, AI holds the power to help diversify the development of certification exams to support language translation and accessibility accommodations needed to scale. In addition, leveraging AI to map skill development journeys before and after certification can provide valuable insight into skills gaps that are required for overall career planning. [MR2] 

What’s Next for Credentialing Programs?
As our workforce continues to change and test-takers needs evolve, certification programs must pivot to accommodate these new realities to stay relevant and effective. The demands of a global, interconnected economy, the rise of remote work, and the growing influence of AI technology present new opportunities and challenges. Certification programs can play a crucial role in shaping the future of the workforce by empowering individuals with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in this dynamic environment. We must foster continuous learning, adapt to real-time demands, and ensure equitable access to certifications across regions and industries. 

To remain impactful and stay ahead of the curve, certification programs need to adopt flexible and innovative approaches to learning and assessment. [MR3] By doing so, we can better support candidates in their professional journeys and contribute to the development of a skilled, informed global population. Here are some ways certification programs can leverage these WEF findings to adapt and increase their impact:

  1. Embrace circular learning: offering flexible testing and learning pathways that accommodate continuous learning and real-time application will help to develop better-skilled and more qualified individuals. 
  2. Prioritize knowledge development: offer pathways for candidates to gain intelligence, insight, and creativity through mapping skill development journeys, preparing them for a more diverse workforce and continued talent development  
  3. Integrate AI Technology: enhance content creation and provide personalized learning experiences in a quicker and more cost-effective manner with the use of AI tools.

By adapting certification programs to the changing world, workforce, and education landscape, we can create a more skilled and informed global population ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. As we embrace this opportunity to make a meaningful impact and drive positive change, we must establish best practices and continue to be innovative leaders in the Testing and Assessment Industry. 

Take a deeper dive into the complete list of key takeaways from WEF 2024 and see how today’s challenges can fuel tomorrow’s innovations for certifying and licensing bodies. 

Download the Full Guide 

About Prometric
Prometric is a leading provider of testing and assessment solutions, supporting over 25 million exam hours and serving more than seven million candidates every year. Using AI-powered development tools, robust assessment delivery capabilities, stringent security, and dedicated candidate support services, Prometric ensures the success of testing programs for leading organizations in over 180 countries.

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