Covid-19 has changed our world, there’s no doubt. In fact, many are saying L&D will never be the same again, which might not be such a bad thing. Change is afoot. L&D is beginning to think differently: aligning with business objectives, focusing on performance, employee engagement and even marketing and building up their internal brand. This new thinking requires, well, new brains. Since we were hit with Covid, we have seen a seismic shift in the roles being demanded by L&D; the loss of some and the growth of many new ones.

The demand for new skills (and a loss of interest in others) shows the potential future we’re entering. Here’s what we’ve seen both pre and post-Covid.

Strategies and objectives have shifted

Many of you may have thought that the freelance market would have suffered at the hands of Coronavirus, however we haven’t really seen that to be the case. Instead we’ve observed a notable and clear change in the skills L&D wants and needs to bring in-house. For many, it seems the investment in L&D isn’t lost, but instead is changing paths.

The directive for L&D is still there: drive impact for your business through learning. But HOW we are going about this appears to have evolved, triggered directly by Covid. According to Fosway Group learning priorities and L&D strategy have changed for 94% of organisations, with two-thirds making significant changes to what they do and how they do it. Strategies, objectives and priorities have moved, and with that so does the need for skills change too.

L&D is starting to look beyond the industry to really achieve their goals. But what do they really need, skills-wise? We’ve got a few ideas…

Supply and demand of skills currency

The shift in skills demand has been great for some freelancers and challenging for others. As we say elearning development projects paused and a general hiatus in L&D whilst everyone found their feet in lockdown, the bigger waves being felt have been much more pivotal.

For example, for months we have been seeking to add more talented Project Managers to our platform (the demand was there; the supply was not). Covid hit and BAM! Suddenly this usually highly competitive market was swamped with brilliant PMs. And we snapped them up, knowing that shortly our clients would need these skills again. And we weren’t wrong. When compared to our Q1 (pre-Covid), we have seen a 325% rise in requests for Project Managers for internal L&D teams.

We’ve also seen a huge increase in ‘newer’, less conventional L&D roles, which to us shows the shift in some mindsets to truly evolve and adapt the ways of working and doing in L&D. The status quo is changing.

Maximising on the investment

Roles like Learning Experience Designers are becoming much more in-demand (50% increase during Covid alone), which is not surprising. Rather than introducing an Instructional Designer AND a Learning Consultant, some organisations have begun to seek individuals who can do it all. A full 360 role which focuses on both strategy and fulfilment. Two birds, one stone.

This approach also ensures that L&D is getting the most out of their investment. With budget belts being tightened and agendas shifting, never has it been more pertinent for L&D to make more of what they’ve got: evolving and enhancing their tech, focusing on engaging with employees better using what they already have. We’ve seen a phenomenal rise – 375% to be precise – in requests for Community Managers from L&D too. A real indicator that we are starting to take marketing, engagement and conversations with our people much, much more seriously.

But for all that we have gains, some roles haven’t seen growth through the crisis, particularly in remits we’d quantify as more ‘traditional’ L&D roles. For example, we’ve seen a massive decline in demand for Instructional Designers and Elearning Developers (40% and 62% respectively), which is not a surprise. Time will only tell however if this is a trend or a permanent move.

Emerging roles and what they mean for L&D

As you have probably already seen, there are several key areas where new roles in L&D are emerging. Nets are being cast wider, searching for skills and talent outside of the industry. We’re seeing growth in three primary categories:

  • Optimisation: L&D appears to be focusing on evolving their tech and platforms and taking them to their limits. As L&D teams (and budgets) shrink, so do we need to find opportunities for efficiencies, improved output and more. Think along the lines of the LXD and Community Manager roles.
  • Research: We’re also seeing L&D starting to look outwards when it comes to the consultants and researchers they use to better understand and procure tech. Key areas of interest include chatbots, AI and VR.
  • Tech and ecosystems: Our tech needs to talk, and play nice. The use of more niche, specific tools has exploded and L&D now has loads of stuff which needs to work together. L&D has started seeking experts in building APIs, data layers, LXP integrations, data centres and more.

It’s really refreshing to see that although Covid-19 has been a difficult time in the lives of most, that our industry is recovering and more importantly, truly understanding what it means to keep pace, evolve and adapt.

We’re fuelling L&D with the skills of the future so whether you’re a freelancer looking for your next gig, or an organisation who needs guidance and support to help you through your digital transformation, we’re here to help! Get in touch to find out more.