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You Need to Know What Upskilling Is (And Why it Matters)


Do you know how to prepare for a job that may not even exist yet? That’s the reality organizations around the world are currently facing. Think back to ten years ago when jobs such as social media managers or robotics engineers weren’t mainstream or in high-demand. It’s difficult to imagine a world without them now, though. What does the world of work look like a decade from now, when technology is currently moving at breakneck speed? We might not know what the exact job titles will be, but we do know that it’s possible to start laying the foundation of skills now before the need arises.

Enter: upskilling. Upskilling, or simply teaching your employees new skills, is on the rise. According to the Global Learner Survey published by Pearson, countries around the world including China, India, and Brazil are rapidly outpacing the US and UK in training and reskilling efforts and have already had a significant push towards upskilling their workforce. More than two-thirds of learners in these countries have been looking to re-skill in the past two years, compared to only 31% of Americans and 24% of British learners. Workers who do upskill are enrolling in short courses, taking courses offered by their employers or professional associations, degree programs or are self-teaching.

It’s not too late to start upskilling, though! Here are three tips your organization can use to retrain your workforce:

1) Focus on teaching skills outside of your employees’ immediate job roles. While you might not have a crystal ball, you may have data that will give your organization insights into future demand. If robotics and automation are standard in your industry, now is the time to turn your workforce into experts in that technology. By offering training and development on the job, and then issuing digital credentials as proof of that learning, you’ll have a network of qualified workers ready to fill open positions when the time comes.

2) Start issuing digital credentials! Your employees may have already learned granular skills outside of your organization through a higher ed institution or a professional association. Unless those skills are directly related to the job they’re doing, chances are your organization doesn’t know about it. Robots are efficient, but they’ll never have management potential. Badge for competencies that include soft skills, as well as technical skills, for a full range of qualified workers.

3) Encourage professional development. Starting a learning and development program from scratch is no small feat. If your organization isn’t equipped to train employees at the pace that is required for future-proofing their jobs, then look to professional associations or community colleges that teach applicable skills.

If you’re interested in learning how organizations including Pearson and ForgeRock have upskilled their workforce, register for our free, live webinar on November 20th. You’ll learn strategies to implement with your own workforce. Can’t make the webinar? That’s ok! Download a copy of our new white paper, “Upskill Your Workforce to Ensure Organizational Longevity.”