Upskilling and Reskilling: Preparing for a Rapidly Changing Job Market


Upskilling and Reskilling: Preparing for a Rapidly Changing Job Market


Upskilling is a long-term investment in enhancing the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to develop a person’s career. If upskilling is offered and suggested for personal or professional development, a higher gain will be detected in people metrics such as employee engagement and retention. Career changers are increasingly finding themselves at a crossroads, wondering what to do next for various reasons. These include the allure of a new field, the necessity of a changed employment market, or the desire for personal improvement. Two ideas are essential to this decision-making process: reskilling and upskilling. Understanding these can pave the path for a fruitful career change.

Attending university is probably about narrowing your focus to a single subject and becoming an expert. But in an age when technologies, market conditions, and organizational requirements evolve more rapidly than ever, there is an excellent demand for increasing your general knowledge and developing skills outside your discipline. 

If you are an imminent graduate entering the professional field, you are extremely familiar with the terms upskilling and reskilling.

Most certainly, with the substantial pace at which the demand for new skills is growing, reskilling and up-skilling are becoming increasingly vital paths for organizations to remain competitive. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, by 2025, as many as 85 million jobs may be displaced due to changes in the division of labor between machines and humans. It further reveals the changes in the job market and the need for reskilling and up-skilling in response to shifting socio-economic and technological patterns.

Understanding the Changing Job Market

Let’s talk about why the job market is in constant flux. Well, firstly, there are those technological breakthroughs we just mentioned. Consider this: new technologies are developed regularly, forever altering how tasks are completed in nearly every field. Not only that, but consumer behavior is often changing, and businesses must also do so. For example, more than 2.14 billion consumers shop online today. If retailers wish to continue selling, they must be ready to relocate their physical stores and do shopping online.

McKinsey reported that 375 million people should be upskilled or reskilled, which is 14% of the total global workforce due to automation and digitalization by 2030. Moreover, The Conference Board found that 87% of the employers claimed they are unable to find the necessary skills. The bright side is that the upskilling and reskilling are the solution to this seemingly unsolvable problem.

Tech and automation are also shaking things up. Sure, they are making some jobs disappear – machines can now do repetitive and boring stuff. But it’s not all bad, actually. Because they are creating entirely new types of work that we couldn’t even imagine before. While many jobs might be vanishing, others are opening up that play into the skills needed for the tech-driven world we live in. This means you must be nimble and ready to learn new things regularly as the job market changes. COVID impacted how and where work took place at a quicker pace, and upskilling and reskilling became a short-term requirement to maintain company growth on course. Companies have discovered that investing in skills learning enables them to become more efficient and trustworthy.

Companies have discovered that investing in skills learning enables them to become more efficient and trustworthy. “’Employees want to know what opportunities they have to develop their careers and what skills, competencies and capabilities they need to achieve them,’ said Cengage Group VP of Human Resources Patrice Low, citing Covid as responsible for sparking reflection among many people of their personal and professional direction. If you can’t help answer one of these critical questions, you’ll lose some great talents. Unfortunately, many employees who say they need further training are unable to tell what abilities and development they’d like more.

Understanding Reskilling and Upskilling

Upskilling refers to acquiring entirely new skills that supplement currently held ones. For example, a worker in digital marketing who needs to upskill may need to learn search engine optimization or new social media marketing tools and strategies, among other things, to keep up with industry changes and innovations. 

Reskilling, on the other hand, refers to learning new skills in an entirely different field or capacity. For example, a worker in a traditional production industry, upon hearing that their job is progressively being mechanized, may pursue programming training or other technical talents to move to a job that requires skill in innovation.

Here’s why reskilling and upskilling are essential:

Enhancing Employability

Today, skill and job requirements are changing rapidly. In such an environment, it is necessary to skill and upskill. At the same time, it sets you apart from others in the job market. Employers are looking for candidates who can hit the ground running, and having a diverse skill set gives you a definite edge.

Future-Proofing Careers

First off, you can’t ever predict or control how the job market goes. Yet, reskilling and upskilling investments render you more robust for the future. You can make sure that you’re adaptable to shifts and pivots. And sooner than later, you are taking high-risk career decisions.

 Increased Earning Potential

Doesn’t money say a lot? Reskilling and upskilling talk volumes about what you can earn. Through utilizing your ability upgrades, you can get entry to better-paying work and shifting up the job ladder. Finally, it’s a worthwhile investment in yourself.

Strategies for Reskilling and Upskilling

Alright, let’s get to the real stuff. How exactly can you step up your game and be apace with trends?

Identifying In-Demand Skills and Industries

First of all, you should know what’s hot. This requires some research and brainstorming; talk to experts in the field, see where the money is. Whether it is AI, data science, or sustainable energy, market trends show what’s popular and how you can capitalize on it.

Utilizing Educational Resources

So, now that you know what you need – hit the books – or the internet. You have an immense volume of educational resources just laying there for you; from fast degrees that pay well and platforms to highly specialized certifications and programs.

Employer-Sponsored Training

Never underestimate the training opportunities waiting for you just around the corner – your employer might have a few tricks up his sleeve in this regard, too! Be sure to take full advantage of internal training initiatives and other development programs regularly launched by your company. If possible, never hesitate to turn to seasoned pros for mentorship and guidance – they know so much!

Emphasizing Continuous Learning

Lastly, remember that learning is a process not a place. Lay the groundwork for a lifetime of learning and stay adaptable and open to change. It applies to the job industry, which is shear dynamics. If you can evolve and change with it, not only will you be able to adapt and endure, but you will also thrive! Always continue to learn, grow and watch where your career goes.

Final thoughts

“The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.-Peter Drucker”

With the above discourse, it can be perceived that embarking on the journey to upskill and reskill as soon as you join your career pursuit as an upcoming fresh graduate will be like taking the most reliable route ever. It is not a reason that it is so because you are obligated, as the most committed employee, to keeping you relevant and flexible due to the fast pace that the business environment is taking. It is the only way for you to ensure that you are on the path to self-actualization and that there is a purpose for your contribution to your career path. However, if you are still about to finish your degree, you could consider starting to upskill long before you become a professional. 

Lastly, you need to find out what’s going on in other companies and fields, particularly in the most thrilling activities right now, such as big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. This doesn’t just help you to get in the door, but it will also open up the range of future directions. In essence, you are absorbing yourself in the environment of your future profession when studying and considering these trends.

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