4 companies that are investing in upskilling employees in 2020

SOURCE: Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP
IBM is using AI to identify jobs that will become obsolete, and investing in upskilling employees to ensure they don't get left behind.

By U2B Staff 

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Upskilling initiatives have been a major focus by many companies even before the pandemic, as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gets closer. With technology becoming so advanced, companies have been upskilling or reskilling their employees in order to get them ready for jobs that will be in-demand in the future.

Technological disruption is also rapidly leading to more and more automated jobs, risking further unemployment in the near future.

Given the current pandemic, thousands of people have been put out of jobs. Several companies are now spurred on to invest in more upskilling and reskilling programmes to retain their employees during these uncertain times.

Here are four companies that have made the headlines for their upskilling initiatives in 2020:


This tech giant has a massive workforce and has pledged $700 million in upskilling and training across several departments.

For example, Amazon’s Career Choice programme is a pre-paid tuition program for fulfillment center associates looking to move into high-demand occupations, where Amazon pays up to  95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study, leading to enhanced employment opportunities for in-demand jobs.

The Upskilling 2025 programmes also include:

  • Machine Learning University (MLU), an initiative that helps Amazon employees with a background in technology and coding develop skills in Machine Learning
  • Amazon Technical Academy, a training and job placement programme that equips non-technical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into software engineering careers
  • Associate2Tech, a program that provides fulfillment center associates with the opportunity to move into technical roles, regardless of their previous IT experience, within Amazon’s vast operations network
  • Amazon Apprenticeship, a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon
  • Expanding AWS Training and Certification to close the cloud skills gap in the industry

Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC)

The professional services company PwC invested a hefty $3 billion last year to upskill and retrain every single employee that works for the company over the next 3-4 years, making it one of the biggest investments made by companies for upskilling employees.

According to Business Insider, “The $3 billion will be split among four sections: the investment required for taking employees away from clients and putting them in classrooms, the further development of digital training tools, the deployment of employees to community projects that spread the same techniques, and leveraging existing partnerships with the United Nations and World Economic Forum to help adapt the training to each of their markets around the world.”

PwC global chairman Bob Moritz told BusinessInsider that those who take advantage of this programme will have their jobs secured in the future. “If you opt in, OK, we will not leave you behind. I can’t guarantee you the specific job that you have or want to have. But I can guarantee you you’re going to have employment here.”



This multinational technology corporation is a pioneer of Artificial Intelligence (AI), identifying early on how this technology has the power to render jobs obsolete.

Therefore, they have utilised AI to identify upskilling strategies to assist those who may be put out of work due to technological advancements.

According to CNBC, “IBM introduced its SkillsBuild platform in France in May 2019 with the goal of identifying job skills and employment opportunities for members of disadvantaged communities.”

“It will be rolled out in Germany in the coming months, followed by India, and then IBM plans to bring the platform to the U.S. in 2020, by which time it is likely that the program will have thousands of users, the company says.”

Jacob Hsu, CEO of Catalyte, at CNBC’s Capital Exchange Summit said, “We’re using AI to identify exceptional people from all walks of life that have remarkable ability to actually be very rapidly retrained to not just be good engineers but the very highest-performing, most successful engineers in the industry.”

“So we’re literally hiring truck drivers and teachers, retail workers and fast-food workers … and very rapidly, within 20 weeks, getting them through a computer science degree and getting them into not just actual jobs but proving they can be highest performers in those roles.”


It was recently reported that Mastercard is upskilling their staff to compete with start-ups, encouraging them to develop new skills through the learning platform Degreed.

Steve Boucher, VP of Global Talent Development at Mastercard, told Ibs Intelligence, “We were already one of the first electronic payment companies to use AI-powered fraud protection, biometric security tools, and touchless technologies. However, there was still a lingering perception that Mastercard was not a technology company.

“In order to remain competitive, we had to embrace new technologies and expand. Banga recognised that to do this, Mastercard’s company culture would have to evolve to accelerate innovation and pivot product development towards developing digital technology offerings, including mobile payments, digital wallets, and cybersecurity enablements for fraud detection.”

They decided to use Degreed as it offers personalised learning experiences, creating relevant pathways and helps employees connect to the content that is particularly important to them.

Boucher said, “When the platform was first launched in 2016, 60% of Mastercard employees initially used it. This has gone from strength to strength, 96% of our workforce now regularly engage with learning through Degreed – which is testament to how effective and aligned it is with the business’ and individual goals.”

Degreed has also been useful during the current pandemic as all learning resources are online, so employees were able to continue upskilling through short articles, videos, and podcasts.