Andries de Grip’s opinion is also supported by a recent publication by consultancy firm McKinsey & Company, titled ‘To emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now’. It states that even before the current crisis, changing technologies and new ways of working were disrupting jobs, and employees need other skills to do them. The coronavirus has made this need more urgent. McKinsey & Company even advises companies to increase their training budget during this time of crisis in order to cope with the changes. They must then “craft a talent strategy that develops employees’ critical digital and cognitive capabilities, their social and emotional skills, and their adaptability and resilience”, states the publication.
De Grip agrees with the advice from McKinsey. “As with other crises, you can see that the corona crisis reinforces certain trends. We have been conducting research within the metal and electrical engineering sector for years, and it shows among other things that a number of skills are becoming increasingly important for technically trained people. We expect that this will also apply to other professions. These skills, which we call PROFI skills, largely correspond to the skills mentioned in the McKinsey publication. In Dutch, PROFI stands for Problem-solving ability, Relationships with customers, Dealing with change, Flexibility and Initiative. The corona crisis makes the importance of these five competencies even greater. Dealing with change is currently a very valuable competence, but problem-solving ability stands above the rest. It is not without reason that this is part of many programmes and courses offered by Maastricht University. During a crisis like this, we see that the new ways of working from home and the search for a renewed revenue model for the one-and-a-half-metre-society are increasing the need for problem-solving ability and the other PROFI skills.”