Most of us are familiar with the “Great Resignation.” We have seen the pandemic-driven trend in some geographies of employees exiting the workforce at alarming rates in search of better opportunities or different lifestyles. By some estimates, the average employment tenure has dipped as low as 1.8 years on average, down from five years. High rates of turnover have continued into 2022.
While jobs are seemingly disappointing employees, learning options are doing the same for students. We are also seeing massive shortcomings emerge in the landscape of traditional education. This is especially true in the U.S., where nearly one in three students heading for university will drop out after just one year. The average graduate will carry nearly $30,000 in debt, with most struggling to repay. And the average dropout will carry more than $10,000 in debt, weighing themselves down with limited benefit.
For many students, college is an unsustainable and unrealistic option, yet many employers continue to rely on a university degree as the main signal of capability in the hiring process.
We have more need for employees due to turnover, but we have fewer qualified graduates — for good reason. This challenge is an opportunity for business leaders. Those who can better upskill their teams and their ecosystems for a world where talent is in constant flux will win the market.
SAP has announced a variety of new student learning offerings aimed to help just this. Our refreshed learning portfolio will keep people engaged, upskilled, and prepared for an ever-changing digital world. We aim to energize talent across the board — from empowering citizen developers with valuable IT skills to providing students with learning that will accelerate their career paths.
Here are three ways we will continue to engage and upskill the SAP ecosystem for continued success:
1. Recognize Talent with the Right Skills for the Job
The traditional university degree remains a key indicator of capability and skill. But we are starting to see a shift. Today, 40% of working-age adults in the U.S. have earned some type of non-degree credential. At the same time, a lack of growth opportunities is the No. 1 reason both managers and individual contributors seek new jobs. With the pace of change in the technology world, this need for continuous learning in non-traditional environments will only increase. To meet the needs of digital transformation, more companies like SAP must change the way the world approaches skill validation.
For this reason, SAP is introducing further skill recognition options, validating skills from foundational to intermediate and advanced levels of solution expertise. Lowering the barrier to gain SAP skill recognition and introducing SAP Certifications for key innovation areas allows learners to demonstrate skills through accessible training and validation options — not just through traditional degrees.
Hundreds of thousands of customers benefit when employees build SAP skills. SAP offers role-based learning that is self-paced, which allows for more flexibility for learners, and gives learners the opportunity to achieve new levels of tech expertise. Regardless of level or title, the new mechanisms to distinguish qualified candidates throughout the hiring process will set up the SAP ecosystem to be better prepared for continued digital growth and adaptation.
“The impact of an SAP Certification is immeasurable, whether it’s being considered as a merit on my resumé or as a differentiator for my company when it comes to new SAP BTP projects.”
— Sebastiano Marchesini, Technical Consultant at Techedge Group
“SAP Certification increased my confidence, knowledge, and reputation. My manager motivated me to get certified, which would not only add something in my skill set but also be fruitful to the organization.”
— Sujit Kumar, Senior Developer at Convergent IS
2. Create Opportunity for Student Learners and Widen the Applicant Pool
At SAP, we strongly believe that learning creates opportunity for all, regardless of geography or economic means. Through programs like People to Work by SAP, we train and certify job seekers in underserved communities — and find that 80% or more of those trained land a job right after completing of the program.
In this spirit, we believe that all students should have access to high-quality learning opportunities. We will now offer free access to SAP learning resources for all university students worldwide. Doing so lowers the barrier to entry for positions both within SAP and across industries, providing marketable, competitive skill development to all students. There are benefits for companies, too: we believe this will broaden the pool of qualified applicants who can bring an enhanced digital knowledge and skill set to the workforce.
“The free Student Zone on the SAP Learning site is a game changer for the student community. We can now upskill in SAP solutions, prepare for certifications at our own pace, and — for free — also prepare for a career.”
— Gabriel Strada, a student at Unisinos in Rio Grande do Sul
3. Transform Business Users into Citizen Developers
Digital acceleration has resulted in increased demand for tech-savvy workers. More than 1 billion jobs, almost one-third of all jobs worldwide, are likely to be transformed by technology in the next decade, according to OECD estimates. But that does not mean all workers need to have traditional technology backgrounds. Today, automation and the proliferation of low-code/no-code offerings mean that workers from any background can quickly become digitally adept.
Through SAP’s enhanced free low-code/no-code learning journey, even those without prior experience can build relevant IT skills, achieve a sought-after SAP Certification, and become “citizen developers” who are able to build applications with little to no code.
Not only does this upskill more people for success in a digital world, but it also takes the burden off existing IT employees so they can focus on more complex development issues.
Max Wessel is executive vice president and chief learning officer of SAP.