The global workforce is evolving at a pace we’ve never seen before. No matter what industry one is in, the job roles and the skills required to do them well are rapidly being redefined. Jobs that require special skills like Machine Learning, Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, etc. remain unfulfilled because of severe shortage of qualified talent in today’s digital economy. While millions of young professionals are finding themselves unemployed, many long-established and experienced employees are finding themselves obsolete. This emerging trend has widened the gap between jobseekers and the available jobs in the market.
It may be true that many of us upskill and upgrade our capabilities on the job, but in order to keep ourselves ahead in the race, we must take up proactive upskilling. Successful professionals understand the importance of expanding their expertise and credentials to accelerate their career. The ability to adapt - upskill and reskill is more important today than ever before in order to be future ready. Upskilling and reskilling are not the same. Upskilling is essentially widening one's capabilities and employability by learning something new to advance one's career. And reskilling is the process of acquiring new skills for an entirely different job role. So, it’s not about learning high-tech skills (though it would certainly help), but primarily about being resourceful, multifaceted, and possessing relevant soft skills that will help weather any career storm that comes your way.
While the onus of continuously equipping themselves with skills and technical know-how largely lies with professionals, it is also in the interest of enterprises to ensure that top talent is up to date with trends, new industry developments, and has access to the best tools. Employee training programs are no longer a ‘good-to-have-perk’. As technology is fast-evolving, new skills are continuously required within the workforce to keep pace with fresh competition & to avoid ceding ground due to operating on a legacy technology stack. Upskilling on-the-job is a sustainable option to bridge this skill gap through ongoing training and development programs.
Why upskilling employees is key for the future of work
Minimizes the need to hire from outside to fill the skill gap
Hiring a suitable candidate to fill the vacancies is a time-consuming task. Coupled with ever evolving job roles, this poses a challenge when hiring skilled candidates. Providing training programs and upskilling opportunities for existing employees will not just empower them with technical know-how, but also inculcate multitasking skills by way of job enlargement.
Employees expect career growth opportunities
In contrast to the general assumption that top talent can be lured by attractive salaries, we found that 55% for candidates are actively seeking growth opportunities at their jobs or with a potential employer. Training and development is the critical link in employee retention. It signals that the employer values its people and is invested in their success. So, an employer who doesn’t focus on upskilling is certainly going to lose out.
Boosts employee satisfaction, morale and thereby, their performance
Employees who have upskilling opportunities are more satisfied at their jobs and have a better outlook about their contributions and their future at the company. It can help them envisage their career advancement roadmap and gets them excited about what could be next. And consequently, working towards a larger goal can instill a deeper sense of purpose.
Improves bottom line
Though upskilling can seem high budget, it also provides significantly higher ROI. One, it is often simpler to address the skills gap by training the existing workforce rather than recruiting a new candidate. And two, employees who feel stagnated tend to leave for better opportunities. The cost involved to replace them and train the new recruit is high, not to mention the loss of knowledge and experience they took away with them.
The road to upskilling workforce is paved with success
In order to create a robust upskilling program, enterprises need to devise a strategic plan. Build a long-term view of your skill requirements, map out your current workforce’s strengths & gaps, and identify the skills on which your employees could be trained. The goal is to be proactive and stay ahead of future demands to get an edge over your competitors. Enterprises that are focusing on providing employees with an enriching upskilling experience are seeing impressive results in terms of retention & speed to market, which positively impacts revenue and profitability.