Is upskilling necessary? The World Economic Forum declared last year that “42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change” and that more than one billion workers will need upskilling by 2030. In this “upskilling emergency”, some of the companies that will be the hardest hit have a clear motivation to keep their talent from standing still. So why won’t they upskill their employees – and what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen to you?
Most In-Demand Skills of the Future
First off, let’s figure out which skills will be the most in-demand. If everyone needs upskilling, it better be focused on what will pay off. While tech skills are always useful, the main skills that are already in high demand are extremely human. It’s the distinctly human skills that are in high demand, such as skills related to sales, human resources, and education. That will include skills like
- both analytical and critical thinking
- active learning
- leadership and social influence
- emotional intelligence
That being said, what skills should you avoid investing in? After all, no matter who pays for it, it’s your career that’s going to either benefit or suffer depending on the market demand. The top skills shown to be slipping from favor are:
- manual dexterity (including precision and endurance)
- memory, verbal, auditory, and spatial skills
- management of financial and material resources
- technology installation and maintenance
- managing personnel
- quality control and safety awareness
- visual, auditory, and speech abilities
- technology use, monitoring, and control
Why Companies Don’t Always Upskill or Reskill
So why don’t all companies reskill their employees? If everyone needs upskilling, then finding someone else with the necessary skills will be either more expensive than training the existing people. For some, it’s about commitment, because it is an investment of both time and cost. While it’s more effective to remove the employee from the work and have them focus entirely on training, some workplaces prefer to split the difference between training and work. Immersing employees in training allows them to fully focus on their education, but can require organizations to find someone else to do the work in the meanwhile.
See how upskilling employees solve company problems: 6 Ways Upskilling Solves Problems
Demonstrate To Your Boss That You’re Open to Upskilling
Employees that are the best investment for reskilling are those that show a passion for constant learning and improvement. Why would your boss agree to invest in your skills if you didn’t show any initiative? If you can produce results of your learning within the work you do already, it will be easy for everyone to identify you as a good candidate for reskilling.
When you’ve conquered the job you’re doing now, another way to show that you’re interested is to stay on top of industry news. Be sure to share any new skills or useful news you learn with your boss so that they know that you’re showing interest. Also, do some brainstorming to figure out how you can use this mindset with your current responsibilities. This step is about changing your mindset and making sure your reputation is of someone who is open to possibilities. By the end of this, you will need solid examples of times you were open to going above and beyond to learn new things.
Find a Mentor or a Sponsor
As you know, you have to understand what the organization wants before you can secure it. When you’re looking around for advice and resources, or if you’re in an under-represented industry, you may want to find a sponsor or mentor. Look to both internal employees at your company and those outside your firm who have a role you’d enjoy. Learning from those who have done what you’re setting out to do will help you get insider information on what can and can’t help.
Show That You’re Invested
If someone demands to be worthy of the time and energy to be reskilled on their second day at work, they’ll be laughed out of the company. First, you need to show that you’re serious about staying and conquering those goals. It’s as though you’re asking for a raise: don’t give the higher-ups any possible pain point in your work before asking for them to invest more in you.
- A steady record of crushing your current target goals will be the easiest leverage for reskilling.
Setting up some short and long-term goals will also help keep you on track. That could look like getting a degree in several years or maybe a six-month-long certificate. Perhaps there are other skills you need to learn along the way in order to align with your ultimate objectives. Either way, this step is about assessing where you are now, where you want to be, and figuring the steps you can take to get you there. Addressing this step fully will also help your pitch to a future mentor to show you mean business.
Prepare Before Presenting
Before you pitch why it would be better if the company paid for the cost of you to improve your skillset, prepare a pitch from the company perspective. It’s not enough to just have the ambition to improve a skill or to pick one. You need to show your management how an improvement in your skills will directly benefit the company’s bottom line. Be sure to add solid examples of why this would work and when.
This plan needs to be clear and to the point, with the boss’s perspective in mind. Be sure to discuss how you’ve shown interest in expanding your skills. Using examples from the past will reinforce this, so make sure you have solid evidence before starting. Once you focus on goals, how upskilling can achieve them, and how you’re just the person for the job, your higher-ups will have a difficult time refusing you.
Consider Other Factors
To prove you’re worthy of the investment of reskilling, be sure to name the other instances that also really made a difference. Some examples might be:
- Any time that you, as a junior member of the team, was able to provide leadership
- Anytime what you personally were able to do that no one could duplicate, such as bring in a new account-based off on old contacts, a campaign idea that knocked the goals out of the park, or a separate career experience or skill you already have that could be useful
- Or if you are able, include any time you saved the company a significant amount of money
Opportunity for Ongoing Learning
Building an atmosphere of ongoing learning takes time, but it’s well worth it once it’s done. It will engage the other employees, improve productivity, make any future changes in the workplace easier to handle, empower the employees over the technology, boost a sense of belonging, help everyone develop soft skills, and tie reskilling to a preferred outcome.
Reskilling will positively affect both employees and their employers. To learn more about how upskilling affects a company, access NESC Staffing’s article 6 Ways Upskilling Solves Problems.
NESC Staffing hires throughout the United States and has won several awards, including being named Forbes’ Best Temporary Staffing Firm of 2021. If you’re interested in working with us, please feel free to reach out at any time Contact Us. Our nationwide recruiting team is located at our New Hampshire office.