The words “reskilling” and “upskilling” are commonly used in tech discourse. What exactly is the difference between reskilling and upskilling? Can they be pursued interchangeably and why are they important in 2023?
In a fast-paced world propelled by rapid digitalization, we are struggling to keep up. There are not enough tech professionals (Frontend and Full-Stack Developers, Cybersecurity Specialists, Data Scientists and Data Analysts) to fully tap into the power of advanced technology.
Technology and HR experts, including the World Economic Forum, suggest that “upskilling” and “reskilling” are the solutions to the ongoing skills shortage crisis. Research confirmed the impacts that upskilling and reskilling can have on the economy. The World Economic Forum reveals that wide scale investment in upskilling has potential to boost the global GDP by US$6.5 trillion by 2030. Additionally, upskilling could lead to the net creation of 5.3 million new global jobs by 2030.
Insights also revealed that by 2024, around 40% of workers will require reskilling. 94% of business leaders also have expectations for individuals to quickly pick up new skills, particularly when it comes to digital skills.
So, what exactly do upskilling and reskilling entail?
What is Upskilling?
Upskilling is the process of learning new skills or improving existing ones to improve one’s job performance and career prospects. Upskilling aims to keep up with the changing needs of the job market and stay relevant in one’s field of work.
Upskilling can involve a variety of activities, such as taking classes or training programs, going to workshops or seminars, looking for mentorship or coaching, or just taking the time to learn on your own. The skills a person chooses to improve depend on their career goals, industry trends, and the demands of their job.
As technology and automation have disrupted numerous industries and opened up new opportunities for those with advanced skills, the significance of upskilling has increased in recent years. Individuals can position themselves for better job prospects, higher salaries, and more fulfilling careers through upskilling.
Upskilling is important not just for people, but also for businesses. Employers who invest into continuous learning for their workers can make a more skilled and flexible team that can handle changes in the market and in technology better.
What is Reskilling?
Reskilling is the process of learning new skills or improving old ones to adapt to changes in the job market or meet the requirements of a new job. When new technologies come out or when the way an industry works changes, workers may need to learn new skills in order to do their jobs well. This is when reskilling is needed.
In today’s job market, where jobs change quickly, it’s increasingly important to learn new skills. Automation, artificial intelligence, and other technological advances are changing how work is done, and many jobs that were once thought to be safe are now at risk of becoming obsolete. This means that workers need to be ready for their jobs to change and learn new skills to stay competitive in the job market.
Reskilling can take many different forms, such as formal education programs, vocational tech training programs, on-the-job training, or self-directed learning.
What is the difference between Upskilling and Reskilling?
Reskilling focuses on preparing individuals for new jobs, while upskilling focuses on developing new skills for the same role.
Reskilling and upskilling are both important strategies for staying competitive in today’s rapidly changing job market, but their focus and implementation are different.
Why is Upskilling important?
Upskilling is about learning new skills for the same job or career path to stay current and enhance job performance. This may entail learning new technologies, tools, or techniques. Upskilling is often motivated by the need to stay competitive in one’s current role or to get ready for future career growth opportunities.
To support career development and growth, upskilling can be done on a continuous basis. It may be used when new technologies or processes are introduced, when facing difficulties keeping up with job demands, or when an organization wants to build a more skilled and flexible workforce.
Why is Reskilling important?
Reskilling focuses on getting individuals ready for new jobs or career paths, in response to changes in technology, industry trends, or organizational restructuring. This might entail getting training in a new field or learning entirely new skills. When a worker’s current position becomes obsolete or is eliminated, reskilling may be required.
Reskilling occurs as a result of changes – individual motivations, company restructuring, due to notable changes in an industry or when an employee’s job is in danger because of automation or outsourcing.
The need for reskilling remains imminent. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects 14% of existing jobs to disappear due to automation in the next 15-20 years. The OECD also predicts another 32% of jobs are likely to change drastically, requiring even more sophisticated skill sets. Even the WEF emphasizes the importance of reskilling, claiming by the end of this year, 54% of individuals will need some form of reskilling.
The role of technology in upskilling and reskilling
Technology plays a crucial role in both upskilling and reskilling, as it enables individuals to access learning resources and training programs online, to track progress and measure the effectiveness of training programs.
Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation are rapidly transforming the job market, creating new opportunities and requiring new skills. Upskilling and reskilling efforts need to take into account these changes and equip individuals with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing job market.
Technology can also help make upskilling and reskilling more accessible to a wider range of individuals, including those who may face barriers such as financial constraints or geographical limitations. Online learning platforms, virtual training programs, and mobile learning apps can all help make training more accessible.
The importance of soft skills in upskilling and reskilling
In addition to technical skills, soft skills are also essential in upskilling and reskilling programs. Soft skills such as communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and interpersonal skills are crucial for success in the workplace. These skills can be more difficult to teach than technical skills, but they are just as important. Soft skill development should be integrated into upskilling and reskilling programs to close “skill gaps” and build a skilled workforce.
Reskilling and Upskilling with Wawiwa Tech
Wawiwa Tech made it its business to take upskilling and reskilling at scale to countries around the world. Working with partners around the world to reskill and upskill individuals using methodologies developed in Israel, the Startup Nation, Wawiwa plays a role in bridging the tech skills gap and decreasing the tech skills shortage.
Candidates going through a Wawiwa reskilling or upskilling program anywhere in the world can quickly acquire the knowledge and skills required to completely transform their career, or upgrade it significantly, in a short period of time and with a lasting impact on their lives.