Before we plunge into details, let’s start with the definition, shall we? Upskilling is gaining new professional knowledge to keep up with ever-increasing job market requirements. It’s worth saying that by “gaining new professional knowledge”, I mean that employees won’t start a totally new career. Instead, upskilling is all about gaining new competencies based on existing skills (hence, its name).
Generally speaking, upskilling falls into two categories. The first is training that offers a predominantly theoretical form of material presentation. This approach combines different communication options: online resources, classical lectures, personal training, or case studies.
The second is about gaining practical knowledge directly at the workplace. According to the educational material, training can vary significantly. Some educational activities aim to acquire the skills needed for a job, while others provide employees with completely new algorithms of actions in non-standard situations.
All in all, this process of reskilling leads to the emergence of completely new competencies. Once completed the training, employees can rise to a fundamentally new job level or improve the quality of work within their current position. But why is upskilling important in today’s circumstances? Let’s find out.
Some predictions sound quite radical. For instance, according to the World Economic Forum and PwC Upskilling report, “about 50% of all workforce throughout the world will need reskilling by 2025”. Another PWC report indicates that nearly 40% of workers are afraid that their job will become outdated in the next five years.
Finally, enter the downturn of 2022. Layoffs are accelerating, and upskilling makes you more productive in your current role so you can stay competitive. LinkedIn’s Future of Work shows that skill sets for jobs have changed by nearly 25% since 2015. What’s more, this figure is expected to double by 2027.
The situation leaves no alternative: the workplace is changing quickly, employees need new expertise, and it seems like we are facing a real “do or die” situation. By the way, upskilling can include both hard skills (for instance, how to use a specific software) and soft skills (qualities you need to fit in at a workplace). In other words, every means possible to do a better job.
The McKinsey Global Institute’s report claims that 375 million workers worldwide may have to switch occupations in regard to technology such as digitization and artificial intelligence disrupting the world of work. For instance, 70% of senior executives at companies with over $500 million in annual revenues predict that advances in technology will affect 25% of their employees.
Sounds scary, huh? That’s where technology steps in. And that’s the only way. The thing is that the innovation process has gained such a frantic pace that neither the education system nor the hiring of new employees allows businesses to maintain the required level of staff qualifications.
Benefits for business
It’s all clear with people who are looking for a job. But why do companies need to pump up current employees’ skills? The answer is easy: attracting talent in the market gets increasingly challenging, especially for SMEs.
With such a talent shortage across many sectors, companies concentrate on retaining rather than hiring. Besides, employees are already part of the team, and they are familiar with the company's culture, goals, and business processes. In other words, it's easier for them to navigate in a friendly environment among colleagues.
The company gets the opportunity to focus on adapting existing employees to new technologies and solutions, while a new hire has to walk a long (but not necessarily successful) path of adaptation. This way, it would be fair to say that upskilling is a crucial investment to keep your workforce adaptable to market changes. Upskilling empowers employees with advanced training, accelerating the pace of work, improving the quality of work and their professional and quality qualities.
How EdTech can help
Just like in other domains, technology plays a vital role in today’s education. So what is EdTech anyway? EdTech is a very broad term used to describe online education and the use of technologies for the educational process (including technologies that help in offline learning, such as interactive whiteboards in school classrooms). Some experts even attribute bloggers on Instagram who sell educational courses to the EdTech movement.
In regard to upskilling, EdTech startups will totally reform the workforce as we know it. The technology provides businesses with personalized learning platforms to help employees. At the same time, a learning EdTech system would only be viable if:
- employees have the opportunity to develop their competencies in different directions;
- a system of social interaction has been established in the educational process;
- employees understand how to put into practice the information received during the training.
The benefits of EdTech
The first (and perhaps the most awesome) benefit of EdTech is that digital learning allows employees to study at their own pace. The second is convenience: for instance, one can watch videos several times if needed to grasp the idea.
Finally, digital learning comes with cool graphics and distinct voiceovers, which help make lessons much easier to get. This way, a powerful EdTech platform significantly facilitates learning, making it comfortable. From a technical point of view, EdTech offers limitless possibilities as it comes with various open APIs, the ability to integrate with other platforms, and a modern technology stack.
Today, the main trends in the EdTech market are various microlearning formats (an approach in which the student receives new information in small portions to repeat it regularly), VR/AR technologies, and immersive learning.
To sum up
In regard to all these insights, we can conclude that the learning industry is on the rise during these shaky times. The growth in venture capital investment in EdTech stimulates education startup IPOs. For example, in March 2021, Coursera applied to become a publicly-traded company, raising $519 million. Based on the placement results, the company was valued at $4.3 billion.
Most likely, the downturn will give a boost to upskilling initiatives in many domains. Businesses realized the best way to keep employees' skills up-to-date today is to train and develop them continually. Obviously, only skilled employees with the latest knowledge and technologies will be able to compete in a rapidly changing market in the future.
What’s more, upskilling has a motivating effect as well. I mean, if you're an experienced worker and your daily duties no longer inspire you, try to learn a new thing or two. Anyways, if you don’t upskill, you might easily fall behind on the job market. According to various reports, reskilling or upskilling takes 12 to 18 months. Therefore, it is better to start planning a change in the HR policy strategy now. Are you interested in developing your custom Edtech solution? Contact us to discuss your project.
Get 17 the Most Essential Interview Questions & Answers
Submit your e-mail to get access.