One piece of advice that has always stuck with me was that in order to have job security, you needed to make yourself as marketable as possible: the more skills you have developed, the more valuable you are. This being said, I once had an employer tell me that absolutely everyone is replaceable. In this day and age where the pandemic has forced a vast majority of companies to re-strategize towards remote working, digital solutions, and also has propelled the advancement of AI technology, there are a lot of questions left up in the air by both employers and employees. Will employees lose their jobs due to their companies restructuring and adapting in order to survive or will they need to develop additional skills that will enhance and adapt to new opportunities and requirements within the company that they’re already working for? If so, will employers be able to invest in their employees to retrain and gain these new skills?
According to a new Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of the World Economic Forum, more than half of working adults fear they’ll lose their jobs within the next 12 months. Despite this fear, two thirds of the same adults surveyed believe that their employers will help them retrain on the current job for jobs of the future. These numbers are even more optimistic within the U.S. with 36% of workers concerned while 67% remain optimistic about gaining new skills.
MIT Technology Review Insights suggests that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has begun: a future dominated by data where real-time solutions are invaluable to businesses in order to not only survive, but to thrive. As daily life is transformed through this Revolution, businesses will need to look into how they acquire, act, and analyze data received from users in order to improve. In order to do so, employers will need to re-evaluate their company’s vision and values, organizational culture, and customer experience. However, in order to do this, employees will need to be trained into new technologies and ways of thinking as applicable to their customers’ needs. Thus, the need to reskill or upskill employees comes into play.
As defined by the ADT, we can consider the below definitions for reskilling and upskilling:
The act of obtaining a new set of skills completely different from your current ones in order to prepare for a new occupation under the same branch of work.
For example, from classroom facilitator to instructional designer – both occupations fall under the branch of learning and development.
The act of improving one’s existing skills that will complement your current skill set.
Technology constantly changes and challenges the way we think, see, and do things within our daily lives. It’s a constant change that we’ve been able to adapt to as users where generally our experiences are always improved. We went from Bricks in the 80’s, their name chosen due to being the actual size of a brick (approximately 8”) to a 4.7” LCD display smartphone in the new iPhone SE. We started with really shoddy dial-up internet, praying that the little AOL avatar would connect and that no one else would use the landline in the 90’s to WiFi available in outdoor settings such as parks or in the form of portable connectors wherever we go. All of these changes that technology provides do have one factor in common: humans.
Despite the Fourth Industrial Revolution being driven by data, another report by the World Economic Forum suggests that human capital in the form of skills, creativity, and capability will be the competitive advantage that businesses need to get ahead. But before a business can look into getting ahead and investing in their workforce, the setting for intentional learning needs to be cultivated.
The World Economic Forum also suggests that through intentional learning, we’re allowing ourselves as professionals to treat every opportunity as a learning experience which will place us in the mindset of constantly improving our skills, applicable to employees and employers alike. By doing so, we’re allowing ourselves to be prepared for unpredictable scenarios as businesses continue to change and adapt to the pandemic and other factors within the Revolution. In fact, a report by McKinsey projects that 73 million U.S. jobs could be lost by 2030 due to the rapid evolution of AI and robots; the third highest projected loss next to India and China. The most threatened jobs of course, are those in the realm of physical labor, where the idea for reskilling is most predominant.
As it turns out, Diversity and Inclusion is the fastest path towards effectively reskilling the workforce. By ensuring that there’s a push for equity, accessibility towards upskilling opportunities, and empowerment and support towards all employees.
Through Upclusion, Inc.’s unbiasedly.io software, employees can benefit from receiving professional training and development from certified coaches all over the world. In addition to this, Human Resources can easily identify the employees that most need help in reskilling or upskilling as needed and recommend a coach that best suits their needs for them in order to streamline the business’ decision-making. Coaches work 1:1 on the employee’s preferred time and base their training on both the employee’s and company’s needs while keeping in mind the employee’s personality in order to provide the best results.