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Part I: Why closing the skills gap is necessary for the future of work


This blog post is part of a blog series addressing how learning has changed and what this means for the learning model of the future.

Closing the gap between the demand for people with technical skills and the current supply is one of the challenges companies like SAP need to address in order to succeed in a world of accelerating cloud technology innovation cycles. More than 2 million jobs requiring technical skills will remain unfilled through 2028 in manufacturing alone. To close this gap, we cannot stick to traditional methods of learning, but must rethink how continuous learning can become a natural and seamless part of the professional daily routine.

Moving on with our transformation to the cloud, we want to establish a way of learning that is digital first and learner obsessed. In order to facilitate upskilling and offer learning journeys which fit role-specific learner needs, we have recently launched a new SAP Learning site1 at SAP TechEd in 20212.

We owe it to our ecosystem

SAP powers 98 of the top 100 most valued brands, and 92 per cent of the Top 2000 brands. Today, 77 per cent of the world’s transaction revenues touch an SAP system and these systems in turn are run by the people who are trained and often certified across SAP platforms. According to IDC, the SAP ecosystem will expand from 1 million workers in 2020 to 1.6 million by 20243. In view of this estimation, it becomes clear that also employees’ learning needs will increase in the next years. This does not only apply to those starting new roles in the ecosystem, but also to those employees who require upskilling from the traditional on-prem solutions to the cloud. For instance, moving on from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA in order to benefit from intelligent technologies and their impact on business process, e.g., Predictive Accounting, Sales quotation conversion prediction, or service ticket intelligence.

While there is SAP’s responsibility towards our ecosystem on one hand, there are the striking benefits of continuous training on the other hand demonstrating how important it is to advance ways of learning. For example, research suggests the impact of providing continuous training to employees. In a recent IDC research companies who offered continuous training more than doubled their key business value drivers. Investing in well-trained implementation teams also pays off in the form of shorter deployment time. Plus, intense training is linked to a higher satisfaction rate regarding the deployed SAP solution4. Yet, the skills needed for success are constantly evolving, which means that the future will require innovative and continuous learning approaches.

Learning has shifted from to renewal

The future of work requires a new scalable learning model, fast, affordable, flexible, and inclusive. This shifts the focus of learning from accrual to renewal. When skill requirements can change radically in a matter of years or and disappear entirely within a decade or less, the relevance and impact of knowledge – for you, your company, and the world – matters more than the sheer accumulation.

Planning for 21st century career journeys require the essence of agility: the ability to change direction, correct missteps, add new paths to the journey, and place much less value on the past and its permanence. Let’s take Benedicta Oletu for example. She wanted to take time off after several years in project support at Shell Oil & Gas, where she had worked with SAP ERP modules. When she decided to rejoin the workforce, she wanted to keep moving ahead, not play catch up. Her resource: the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Implementation Learning Room. Taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from home – at her own pace in what she called “regular short bursts” – Oletu became certified5 and spent four years as an S/4HANA Cloud Consultant at a firm in Texas. Earlier this year, she took on a new role as an SAP Project Manager6 at another Texas firm.

Oletu is not the only learner who was able to change direction after becoming certified. “Immediately after first becoming SAP-certified, I felt a difference in my career, not only in terms of recognition by colleagues and clients, but also through more career and job opportunities,” Olga Pushchina, a consultant at Deloitte7, remembers. “Opportunities opened up for me all over the world because SAP certification is well-known in the professional community and internationally accepted.”

Many learners benefit from becoming certified.

Certifications – Practical, personal, and financial benefits for learners

Just like Oletu and Pushchina many others have benefited from the immediate and meaningful impact of certification. In a recent Pearson VUE study, more than 90 per cent of candidates who completed an IT certification experienced greater confidence in their personal abilities after becoming certified. Plus, 76 per cent reported higher job satisfaction and similarly, 74 per cent indicate greater autonomy at work. Finally, certifications can also help climb the ladder: The majority (61 per cent) of those who were aiming at a promotion or career advancements were successful8.

The learning path Oletu followed typifies that 180-degree change in learning. The old way of learning after college served the old career journeys. It often involved days or weeks offsite in a conventional classroom setting, with some hands-on training. All too often, it meant that employees had to interrupt their work at a time that someone else pre-determined, and then follow a pre-determined content path at a one-size-fits-all pace. Oletu’s path was different – but it still led to huge opportunity. Her story exemplifies the change that is needed to match todays and future learner needs. How does SAP put this change into practice?

Stay tuned for the rest of this blog series and learn how to implement the new way of learning.

Useful links:

  • Visit the new SAP Learning site and discover what else was announced on SAP TechEd in 2021 in terms of learning.

  • Learn more about the value of certifications and how SAP is making learning more accessible in the conversation with Jan Meyer & Diego Dora.

  • Read in this SAP Community blog post how consultants can benefit from SAP Certification.

  • You can find more information on SAP’s learning portfolio and certifications by following tags like ‘training’ and ‘certification’ on SAP Community.


2 SAP TechEd in 2021
3 The IDC Vendor Spotlight, sponsored by SAP, “Partner Opportunity in a Changing World”, October 2020
4 IDC, sponsored by SAP, “Game Changer: The Transformative Impact of Learning”, Document #US46891120, October 2020
5 SAP Learning Rooms Make Returning to Work Easier | SAP News Center
7 Consultants Agree: SAP Certification Puts Them a Cut Above the Rest | SAP Blogs
8 Pearson VUE’s latest “Value of IT Certification” study highlights benefits of IT certification in ch..., May 2021