Carole Houper-Sieger, director of product & development of PwC Academy Luxembourg
Photo: Olivier Toussaint.
In a Q&A Carole Houper-Sieger, director of product & development of PwC Academy Luxembourg, Delano asked how the skills employers are looking for today can be sourced and also how candidates themselves can maintain their value to companies. PwC Academy stressed the necessity of continuous personal development.
Delano: Unemployment in Luxembourg seems relatively stable, but employers still have difficulty hiring the skills they need. Do you agree with this statement?
PwC Academy: First, it is important to outline that we no longer have a skills set for life. The fact that we acquired strong skills at university does not mean we will be equipped with them for our entire professional life. Any employee should be able to develop constantly new skills through continuous learning.
As the professional world today is in constant evolution, workers, in parallel, must adapt their personal skills to those required by their company and in order to meet success. That is why it has never been as important as it is today to train regularly and to develop skills.
In order to have the necessary skills they need within their company, employers have two solutions in our view: one, they can hire people who already have the required skills or two, they can continuously develop internal resources through training.
Delano: What skills are missing?
PwC Academy: What we currently see at PwC's Academy is a strong demand from our clients for training in agility (both for project management and for management), positive leadership, strategic thinking, digital skills in all their forms, as well as product and job-related expertise (compliance, regulatory, accounting, IT...). The width of the topics demonstrates that there is not “one” set of skills missing, rather a scope of knowledge and competences to maintain alignment with the markets’ evolution.
Delano: How do companies deal with this problem?
PwC Academy: Companies either recruit the needed skills on the job market or develop their current employees. The ideal is to be able to set up a programme that will strengthen the already mastered skills by associating them with the acquisition of new ones, essential to today's jobs. The priority is therefore to build real learning journeys based on experiential training, in order to ensure better retention of skills, closure of the learning-doing gap and optimal use in the workplace.
Delano: Do they invest in training?
PwC Academy: Investment in training happens at two levels. On the one hand, a budget of a certain amount is invested. On the other hand, we must not neglect the investment of time spent in learning, which can be significant. It is therefore important to maximise the impact of any training action. This is why we always offer field experts, who are not only trainers but also actual practitioners of the expertise. They bring a pragmatic approach and field experience, combining business knowledge with efficient pedagogy.
Delano: What types of training?
PwC Academy: Our clients look for different types of training. Either “in person” in our rooms or at their own place, or “digitally”, such as our e-learnings. Additionally, both to meet customer needs and to foster retention of skills, we offer more and more blended learning programmes, using virtual learning communities, to allow all participants to retain learning, ask questions, share good practices or documents, anytime, anywhere, beyond the in-class experience.
Delano: In general, how have you seen the demand for training evolve over the years?
PwC Academy: Pure content courses are no longer taught. 100% theoretical classes with lots of slides are over. Today, what customers want (and they are right!) are interactive courses. They no longer want to leave a classroom with a large theoretical content to assimilate. No, today the learners want to leave the classroom or exit the digital module with skills they can use directly on the workstation.
The other change in demand for training concerns the time. There has been a shift in demand towards shorter yet more frequent training. This allows a better anchoring over time and an enhanced training impact on the job.
Delano: In your opinion, do Luxembourg employers invest enough in training?
PwC Academy: We must stress the importance of this investment, which is essential today for a positive impact on everyday business, as well as for the development of people and their interest in their daily job. All employees should be given the tools they need to achieve their objectives and the company's strategic objectives.
Delano: What must candidates do to remain employable?
PwC Academy: Our advice to anyone: Use all available training opportunities!
Both those proposed by their employers and those available online free. It must be possible to complete the training provided by the company with the training you choose yourself. Because it is important to stay up to date with the constantly changing professional world.
The employee today is at the centre of a development triangle. This triangle is formed on one side by the "skills to be acquired” and on the second side by "strategic objectives of the company to be achieved" and on the third side, is the "training plan". The right formula is to keep these three sides balanced, and especially to never reduce one side at the expense of another.