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Whenever you read the news, you come across companies desperately looking for experts in certain fields. Increasingly, demand in select areas of expertise significantly outgrows supply of talents available on the job market.

Looking to the future, the situation is getting more and more critical, as the so-called “baby boomers” are going to retire within the next 8-10 years. This has the potential to become a major threat to our economy if we are unable to overcome this challenge. One way of filling this gap is tapping into the large pool of highly skilled and motivated women (and increasingly men) on parental leave. In some countries parents are entitled to up to three years out of the job per child. This leads to situations where (mainly) women end up with spending 5 to 10 years at home raising their children with hardly any contact to their previous working environment.

Once their children are teenagers, these men and women are seeking opportunities to get back to work. Unfortunately, very often they missed the chance to keep their skills and expertise current during their parental leave.

How can we ensure that this large, untapped pool of talent is ready to get back to work, equipped with the skills required in modern economies? Here’s the good news: fortunately, technology innovations can help female (and of course also male) talents to stay current during their parental leaves.

Let’s take a mother of three children who earned a degree in business administration when she was in her twenties. Having worked for a company where she also built up professional skills during a couple of years, she decided to stay at home to raise their children. Spending a full day at a training or at work is not possible due to her obligations at home. Hence, the only time available for her to invest in keeping her skills up-to-date is a few hours in the morning when the kids are at school or in the evenings once they are in bed.

If more companies offered digital learning and collaboration platforms this would largely help their employees. At SAP – for example, employees benefit from technology innovations that help them keep their skills and expertise current. Digital learning and collaboration platforms allow them to:

  • get updates on important topics at work whenever and wherever they are through collaboration platforms like, for instance, SAP Jam

  • gain insights into new topics like big data, artificial intelligence or in-memory databases through massive open online courses, like openSAP
  • participate in virtual classrooms to build up new skills and attend delta trainings, for instance through SAP Live Class
  • moreover, they can ask questions and participate in discussions in dedicated focus groups, for instance in SAP Learning Hub, in addition to participating in online training and enablement


As outlined above, the lack of experts is getting more and more critical and has become a major threat to our economy. Offering creative solutions largely supports employees in their desire to have both a family and a career – without compromising on one or the other. At the same time, this approach will help us overcome the lack of talent that is one of the main barriers to successful digitization.

Let’s leverage education technology to make learning easier and more effective for female and male talents to stay current! And consider taking advantage of innovative solutions available to tap into this valuable pool of great and experienced talent!



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