The World Economic Forum estimates that 65% of children entering primary school now will be working in jobs that do not currently exist. This just proves how fast the world is changing and therefore reinforces how important it is that we constantly learn and add to our knowledge and skills, to be able to stay relevant in the workforce and secure future careers. The latter brings us to this blogs topic of “Upskilling”.
Upskilling is the process of learning and acquiring new skills that your organization needs to succeed now and in the future. This form of learning seals the gap between what employees can do and what the organization requires them to do. This skill gap arises due to an ageing workforce where retirement of old workers creates a gap, both in terms of openings that are hard to fill, and in terms of skills and knowledge that gets lost in the process. Another reason for this skill gap is digitalization, as the difference between supply and demand for technical experience is an issue. AI, robotics, and other technologies are rapidly taking over, hence changing the nature of the jobs by extension and the skills needed to perform certain jobs. Consequently, businesses need to remain competitive in a quickly changing environment, by adapting to new trends and being able to contribute to the current world of employment, using the competencies of their upskilled employees.
Virtual & Online Courses
Nowadays, you can access virtual courses to upskill your qualifications. It’s that easy! This means you can work on learning a new skill from wherever you are and whenever you find time. Some virtual course platforms that are available online include LinkedIn, Skillshare, Open learning from MIT etc. These virtual courses allow you to learn at your own pace. Therefore, even if your career is demanding, you can still find some time to upskill.
This can occur at the workplace too, where you are learning from someone who is more experienced than you or who has a higher position on the career ladder. You can shadow their work, allow them to teach you directly, or have discussions about the skills you want to work on. A mentor does not need to be someone that is above you in paygrade. For example, if you want to improve your digital skills, someone that is specialized in the field and has just graduated from a training program would be more fitting to mentor you in that regard.
Unlike mentoring, coaches receive special training to guide you towards achieving your goals. Coaching can be a very effective method to close your skill gap and realize your potential. It is more tailored to you or your team than virtual courses for example. Coaching enables you to establish long-term goals and work towards them in small steps.
Identify Priority Areas and Skills
Upskilling overall can be beneficial to the company’s long-term performance, however, organizations will see higher returns on their investment when they identify priority areas and skills based on the companies’ goals and vision. For example, a business may want to make sure its logistics team is updated on industry software or that its sales and marketing teams are embedding social media to its full potential. Consequently, organizations should focus on upskilling employees whose roles will require those skills in the future.
Provide Stretch Assignment for Employee Upskilling
These types of assignments may involve giving employees assignments outside their existing scope of experience and job description, providing employees with the chance to learn on the job, while proving their ability to take on new challenges. An example includes giving an employee the responsibility to oversee a project team in a stretch assignment, or an employee may take on a new role in a project. In order for this to be successful, the company needs to provide these employees with the necessary support and resources they need to acquire new skills and meet the challenge.
Enroll Employees in Courses or Training Programs
Some companies may want to get their employees up to date with machine learning while others would look to prioritize upskilling them on leadership skills for more leadership opportunities. As a result, online courses are designed for professionals to partake in. Often these courses are created in collaboration with top universities and most of them are designed to work around a professional’s busy schedule, and many provide opportunities to work on specific company projects.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
According to the World Economic Forum, 75 million jobs will be displaced by AI in 2022. However, it will also add 133 million jobs in the same time frame which suggests a net gain of 58 million jobs that will be available for qualified professionals. Many companies state that they have trouble implementing AI due to the lack of qualified employees, which implies that there is huge demand for employees to upskill and undertake training programs that enables them to familiarize themselves with AI and machine learning. Consequently, since AI is influencing every other domain, it is an obvious choice for anyone wanting to work with technology of the future.
Business Analytics & Data Science
No company in today’s marketplace can afford to ignore analytics, since they need data-driven decision making to improve their outcomes. With business analytic tools, businesses can have a more profound understanding of primary and secondary data emerging from their activities. This helps businesses refine their procedures and be more productive. In order to remain competitive, companies need to be ahead of their peers and have the latest toolsets to assist their decision making in improving efficiency as well as generating more profits. Here we also see a similar issue that there is lack of qualified professionals, leading to many jobs being vacant as a result. Therefore, get upskilling and you will flourish in these countless opportunities offered for these roles!