- Microsoft, along with its LinkedIn unit, has launched a global skills initiative to help job seekers acquire skills for in-demand roles. The set goal is to increase the digital skills of 25 million people worldwide by the end of 2020, Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a blog post June 30. The COVID-19 pandemic "has shined a harsh light" on a skills gap that is widening globally, and must be "closed with even greater urgency to accelerate economic recovery," Smith said.
- The initiative focuses on three areas of activity on the newly launched platform: using LinkedIn to identify real-time labor market data and skills insights; providing free access to content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn and the GitHub Learning Lab; and low-cost Microsoft Certifications and free job-seeking tools. To help organizations upskill employees, Smith also announced that the company is developing a new learning app in Microsoft Teams. Employees will "need to skill and reskill through their careers," he said.
- Microsoft has also pledged $20 million in cash grants to assist nonprofit organizations worldwide. Of this total, $5 million will be provided to community-based nonprofits in the U.S. that are led by and serve communities of color.
Identifying the most in-demand jobs can help assist those who are unemployed acquire the necessary digital skills to meet the challenge, according to Microsoft.
Using LinkedIn data, Microsoft identified 10 jobs that currently have high demand and future growth potential: software developer, sales representative, project manager, IT administrator, customer service specialist; digital marketing specialist; IT support/helpdesk; data analyst; financial analyst; and graphic designer.
As a part of its global skills initiative, the tech giant announced "Accelerate," a new program to help skill underserved communities and re-skill Americans impacted by the pandemic for these in-demand jobs. The first of many city-focused digital skills and employment partnerships designed to upskill and increase employability will begin in Atlanta, according to Microsoft.
"Just last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that the country ended the month of May with unemployment rates in the Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino communities that were markedly higher than for white individuals," Smith said in a blog post.
High unemployment due to the pandemic is also resulting in high competition amongst job seekers for tech positions, including recent college graduates. A Glassdoor Economic Research study released June 22 found that the number of available positions with "entry level" or "new grad" in the job title have decreased 68% from last year. Recent college graduates are applying to tech positions that require experience, which means they’re competing with skilled workers in the field that are also looking for jobs.
Microsoft was listed as No. 2 on Glassdoor's list of employers attracting new grads. Amid the pandemic the company also pivoted from its traditional on-campus internships to a virtual internship program this summer.