For the past few years, WorkingNation and many, many other voices have been raised in unison, shining a light on the urgent need to retrain and upskill workers for in-demand jobs now and in the future.

As the global pandemic sweeps through the country, we’re watching millions lose their jobs. To be sure, the layoffs are widespread across multiple industries, but it is clear that lower-skilled jobs are among the first to be eliminated and, more than likely, they will be the last to return. We’re watching the need to retrain accelerate.

Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass Technologies
Matt Sigelman, CEO Burning Glass Technologies (Photo: Burning Glass Technologies)

“The term ‘acceleration’ is right on the money here. I think we can recognize a lot of what we’ve been worried about is playing out today in this crisis, but a lot faster and on an even more massive scale than any of us could have imagined.” says Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, an analytics software company that provides real-time data on job growth, skills in demand, and labor market trends.

Sigelman is the guest on this episode of Work in Progress. We discussed the kind of jobs that we’re losing today. He says they are often “place-based” and had previously been considered good, blue-collar jobs. “All of a sudden these jobs are going away. Those are the same jobs that when you looked at indices of automation risk also popped to the top.”

We’ve learned from past recessions that employers don’t necessarily hire back the same people that they let go, according to Sigelman. Employers will be cautious as the economy starts to come back. Instead, he says, they will be hiring people with the skills that they think their businesses are going to need in the future.

“What we need to be doing, right now, is focusing on how we win the recovery. This is the time when we need to make sure that we have a tremendous investment being made in how we reskill people,” he tells me.

Sigelman has some ideas on how we can “win the recovery”. You can hear them here in this Work in Progress podcast.

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Episode 127: Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass Technologies
Host: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch, Melissa Panzer, and Ramona Schindelheim
Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0.

You can check out all the other podcasts at this link: Work in Progress podcasts