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'Upskilling' as important as health care for workers: PwC exec

Brooke DiPalma
Associate Producer

After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, many companies shared their windfall with employees.

Companies including Amazon (AMZN), Walmart (WMT), AT&T (T) and Starbucks (SBUXgave their employees one-time bonuses or boosted hourly pay. Now 18 months later, workers are reaping benefits in other ways, according to PwC U.S. Chairman Tim Ryan.

“We have seen companies do quite a bit in both terms of pay and programs, as well as upskilling, and we do see those continuing,” Ryan said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

“It goes back to the talent war. We happen to believe upskilling is going to be as important as health care and retirement going forward,” Ryan said.

Workforce development and training is an increasingly important component of employee retention. Given a tight labor market – unemployment is at a 49-year low – employers are facing increasing change, disruption and skills gaps among its employees. According to a 2018 survey, 83% of respondents report a skills gap in their organization and 78% expect their organizations will have a skills gap in the future.

As new technologies emerge, companies see an increasing demand for talent – prompting companies to build their own talent. According to a ManpowerGroup report published in February, 76% of employers plan to upskill their workforce by 2020, compared with 28% in 2011 and a 21% increase from last year.

PWC strives to ‘do better’ on workplace inclusion

Another driver of success for Ryan is diversity. “We know when people at work feel more included they can drive better outcomes and it’s also the right thing to do societally,” he said.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a commitment consisting of 650 CEOs to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

“Without a doubt, the biggest challenge and the opportunity we have is to understand each other,” Ryan tells Yahoo Finance.

Brooke DiPalma is an associate producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @brookedipalma.

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