Upskilling vs. Reskilling: Which one do you need?

by | Dec 21, 2022

If you’re reading this, you probably want to improve your career prospects. That’s great! There are many ways to do so, but one of the most effective is upskilling or reskilling. But what does this mean? In this post, we’ll discuss what upskilling and reskilling are, how they differ, and how you can use them to get ahead at work.

Table of Contents

Upskilling vs. reskilling

What is upskilling?

What is reskilling?

How do I upskill at work?

Upskilling vs. reskilling

There’s a difference between upskilling and reskilling. Both terms refer to learning new skills, but the context in which they’re used is very different. 

Upskilling refers to learning new skills that help you climb the corporate ladder on your current path, while reskilling refers to learning new skills that change your career path. These learning processes can be valuable in their own right, but they’re also important for your career. 

Why? Because the more skilled you are, the better equipped you’ll be to handle new challenges and opportunities that come your way. Whether upskilling or reskilling, you’ll easily handle the changing tides of your career. This can help you avoid getting stuck in a rut and stay relevant in an ever-changing world. When you are considering upskilling vs. reskilling, keep in mind that both can be valuable. The decision to upskill or reskill depends on what you want to achieve.

What is upskilling?

At its most basic level, you can think of upskilling as giving yourself an upgrade. It’s about giving yourself more skills and knowledge so that you can be better at what you do. In the same way that you might buy a new computer or upgrade your software, you can also upskill yourself. You can learn about new technology and then apply it to your business. 

For example, if your job involves using a new CRM software like Salesforce, you should learn the basics of Sales Operations and how to work on the backend of CRM platforms. 

As new technologies are introduced, you must keep up with them so you won’t fall behind. Upskilling is one of the best ways to stay competitive in an increasingly demanding marketplace. This will give you more skills and knowledge, improving your job.

Why has upskilling suddenly become so important?

The short answer to this is digital transformation. Technological advances are changing how goods and services are bought and sold, remaking how businesses interact with their customers. Customer-centric, tech-enabled startups are disrupting incumbents across many industries. These successful models share several elements in common:

  • Relentless commitment to improving customer access, experience, and loyalty.
  • Efficient use of data to achieve better outcomes for customers, employees, and shareholders.
  • A constant improvement over time.

How does upskilling affect the company culture?

Upskilling helps to create a company culture of lifelong learning. With the increase in technology and change, only some people can be experts in all areas and stay current with some investments. Upskilling ensures that new skills are acquired quickly and efficiently so that people at all levels do not become obsolete as soon as they start.

Upskilling the employees in a company directly impacts the culture. You can see this on many levels of the organization, whether through new technologies or just new ideas they are learning and implementing.

Benefits of upskilling

Upskilling benefits both the worker and the employer. For workers, upskilling can mean:

  • Improved job security and higher pay.
  • More opportunities for career progression.
  • Feeling valued by their organization.
  • More confidence and a sense of achievement.

For employers, upskilling can mean:

  • Increased productivity and better performance by employees.
  • More motivated and engaged staff.
  • A reduction in employee turnover.
  • A more adaptable, flexible, agile workforce.

In addition, upskilling positively impacts an organization’s reputation and employee job satisfaction. By improving the company culture and creating a better image for its brand, a business can make it easier to attract and retain excellent employees.

 

What is reskilling?

Reskilling is a process of acquiring new skills to change your career path. If upskilling is upgrading yourself, you can think of reskilling as repurposing yourself. In much the same way a person might turn a school bus into a tiny home, you can change your skillset into something else for a new purpose. 

Reskilling is essential because it allows you to adapt your skills to changing market conditions. It enables you to keep up with new technology and shifts in the economy, which can be especially important if you’re self-employed or work in a field prone to disruption.

Reskilling is often necessary when there are changes in the job market or a person’s career goals. For example, if you’re looking to move from sales to project management, you may need some new skills to succeed. 

Reskilling can also be helpful if you feel like you’ve plateaued in your current role and want more opportunities at work.

what is reskilling

How can companies benefit from reskilling their workers?

Companies are constantly looking for ways to make their employees more skilled and productive. One way to do this is by reskilling them. Reskilling is the process of providing employees with new skills or knowledge that they can use in a new role within the company.

The benefits of reskilling are numerous, but the most significant one has improved employee engagement. People who know they’re learning new things tend to be happier at work and more motivated to do their best. This makes them more productive, ultimately improving your company’s bottom line.

Another benefit of reskilling current employees is retaining the employee’s existing knowledge of the company and how they operate. This allows them to get up to speed in their new position faster than a brand-new employee would. In addition, the company can save time, money, and effort on recruiting if they reskill current employees that would have been laid off anyway.

Who has the willingness to reskill?

According to a global survey on upskilling and reskilling, certain groups of workers are willing to reskill for a different job. Respondents aged 21-40 were more willing to reskill than workers over 50. 

Regardless of where they live, those employed as salespeople, administrative assistants, and service workers are most likely to reskill for a different role. 

People working in science, IT, or legal fields are less likely than others to be open to reskilling for a new job, preferring instead to upskill within their current field.

How do I upskill at work?

It’s important to remember that your company should be a key part of your development plan. If you have a good relationship with your boss, they can help you find opportunities for development outside the company. They may also provide career guidance if you’re seeking more clarity on what skills are valuable in their industry or company.

If your boss cannot help, you can always talk with HR about available opportunities. They can suggest training programs or courses that help you develop skills relevant to your employer.

Take advantage of employer-sponsored opportunities.

Many companies have training budgets set aside expressly to help employees learn new skills—but not all do! If yours does, take advantage of it! Look into classes offered by local universities or community colleges, and keep an eye out for online resources that you can use to improve your skills.

Take your learning style into consideration.

As new technologies emerge and workplace habits evolve, people increasingly prefer to learn differently. Many people learn new job skills in self-directed ways, such as studying independently or taking classes online through platforms or apps.

When planning your next learning experience, consider your preferred learning style. For example, do you like to read about the topic or listen to a lecture? Is an online course best for you? Will you be more comfortable listening to an in-person instructor? The more you choose a learning style that aligns with how you want to learn (and your preferred environment), the easier it will be to stay engaged and retain information.

Use online resources.

Consider taking classes outside of work if you have the time and money. There are plenty of online resources that can help with this! Online resources are a great place to start if you’re looking to learn new skills. Many websites offer courses on everything from basic HTML and CSS to more advanced skills like product management or data analytics. If you want a certificate program, plenty of online resources can help with that too. You can find certificate programs for anything you can think of, like digital marketing and analytics. You can also find online communities where you can ask questions and get help from others in your industry. You might be surprised how many people are willing to volunteer their time to help you!

Key takeaways

  • Upskilling can move you further on your current career path, while reskilling is training for a new career.
  • There are many benefits to employees and companies in upskilling and reskilling.
  • Upskilling is easier than ever with the help of online resources.

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