Reskill or Upskill – The Skill Dilemma!!

reskill and upskill
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Various credible research says that the robot revolution is displacing 85 million jobs in the next five years and will create 97 million new jobs. The most competitive professionals will be those that choose to either reskill or upskill themselves.

What are reskilling and upskilling?

The meaning of Reskilling and Upskilling is different from each other however both intend to enhance your capabilities and employability skills.

Upskilling refers to honing applicable skills to advance in one’s current work profile and Reskilling refers to learning new skills to perform a different new job.

Here are 2 scenarios explaining what upskilling and reskilling are:

Upskilling: ‘Rude is a marketing professional. Favourably, the organization he works at needs a bigdata analyst, a progressive role. Rude then decides to enhance his existing knowledge by doing some certifications in Big data to fit well in this role.’ He has upskilled himself.

Reskilling: ‘An HR executive whose job has become outdated, learns new skills by taking up courses in Artificial Intelligence to do a different job in demand, within the same or different organization. He has reskilled himself.

Upskilling is more about improving your current skill set and updating and upgrading yourself, as a professional within your current position or organisation.

While reskilling would enhance your chances to transit to a different desired role or different organization by learning new skills. 

Which learning process is more important, for an Individual, upskill or reskill?

Individual career needs are unique in nature and it will depend upon one’s current career needs in order to choose between Upskilling or Reskilling.

Research Data from ‘Coursera’, a successful American online course provider says that one can master any demanding skills within the sales and marketing field in like 2 months and in 3 months one can excel their skills in new areas like data mining, artificial intelligence or big data and the ones who want to hone technical skills like cloud computing and engineering could make it by 5 months. Various customized certification courses are available today.

We have seen an exponential increase in the number of people seeking online learning programs and certifications, especially in the ‘new normal’.

Upskilling or Reskilling – Company prospective

The World Economic Forum, from their Job skill report 2020 emphasizes on the below fact,

‘New sense of urgency for the reskilling revolution has started’

In the fourth industrial revolution, all sectors would be highly influenced by the emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing etc., creating massive green economy jobs, where the requirements would be primarily for the ones who are equipped to take up roles with frontline capability in such areas especially artificial intelligence, cloud computing and new advances of data mining and product development.

This triggers a need for the global workforce to reskill themselves in the forthcoming years.

This report further confirms that almost all employers is aware and acknowledged the value of reskilling their workforce, much ahead of time as 66% of employers surveyed in this report expect to see a return on investment in upskilling or reskilling of their current employees’.

This report also states that currently 21% of businesses worldwide use public funds for reskilling and upskilling-based certification/ learning programs within organizations and it is moving strong.

The existing Skill Gap

To go by SHRM’s The Global Skills Shortage study, 83 % of HR professionals surveyed confirmed that they couldn’t find the best fit for roles last one year, and 75 percent of them confirm that there is huge unavailability of the required skills.

The 8th edition of the India Skills Report (ISR) 2021 on the post-COVID landscape of Talent Demand and Supply in India shares the youth employability stood at only 45.9% consisting of highly employable resources. This triggers a skill gap and opportunities to manage reskilling.

Reskilling or upskilling employees is a sustainable strategy

The uncertain time and the changing job market are worsening the skill dilemma and is eventually shortening the shelf life of core skills, shifting the demand of work constantly. 

In this competitive business world, the only way to sustain the change and maintain the leadership position, for organisations, is to create a skilled workforce by having a constant reskilling and upskilling approach to balance the skill gap and the same strategy applies to individual growth.

Mike Hughes, managing director at West Monroe Partners, mentions, we can upskill a resource at just one-third of the cost of hiring.

Hence by reskilling their talent, companies not only save money, but they ensure that they develop the required skill sets and behaviours, as aligned to their organisational culture, that they need for the future. Reskilling or upskilling is a critical survival strategy today for company growth.


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