Why upskilling is important
Upskilling means learning new skills and enhancing competencies. In the fast-paced world like today’s, upskilling has become a buzzword. The technological advancement and the emergence of artificial intelligence have made skill enhancement inevitable so as to be at par with the industry standard. Companies are investing heavily on their employees to upskill them so as to increase productivity and survive in high competition.
In the current scenario, especially in the Indian marketplace, the unemployment rate is very high despite the availability of a good number of opportunities that remain vacant for long. This mismatch is famously termed as a skill gap where there is a visible gap between the number of vacancies that require new skills and the able candidates to be placed in those positions. The India Skill Report of 2019 denotes that only 45.6% of the graduating youth are actually employable. The reason behind this is that a large number of the workforce doesn’t either possess relevant knowledge and skillset or doesn’t qualify for those available job opportunities. It happens due to a lack of relevant skills or unwillingness to upgrade to match the new industry standards.
According to the Financial Express dated March 19, 2019, India possesses extremely low that is 4.69% formally skilled workforce as compared to the other prominent countries such as China (24%), US (52%), UK (68%), Germany (75%), Japan (80%), and South Korea (96%).
The only solution available and tested is upskilling. Let’s have a brief look at the advantages offered by upskilling.
Job security and a gateway to better opportunities for employees
A knowledge gained through an academic degree program is generally required to be supplemented with industry knowledge and relevant skills to make it a strong case in front of the recruiters. That is why we see a boom in industrial training programs everywhere. Such applied skills increase our competencies and enable us to dare new challenges. The working professionals would want to upgrade their skills and knowledge to stay job-relevant and eliminate the fear of lagging behind.
Upskilling is an effective tool that helps employees to secure their tenure, get a promotion, and grab the opportunity of growing into managerial roles in the organization.
Some professionals get such upskilling training by their current employer and some prefer to do that on their own privately. Ultimately the result is – it boosts the employability and enhances competency for sure. Some of the benefits that employees get due to upskilling can be summed up as –
- Upskilling enhance competencies and thereby ensures job security
- Upskilling boosts employability and morale
- Employees get a chance to grow into managerial roles as well as promotion
- It brings new opportunities with added benefits
- It opens up new possibilities with changing job perspectives
Employee retention and increase in productivity for employers
Talent acquisition was never an easy task. The onboarding process consumes huge resources in terms of time and money. New employees take some time to suit themselves to the new work environment and align their competencies to the job demands. Employers, therefore try to retain their current employees by upskilling them for changed job perspectives. This helps both the employees and employer equally. Employees get added advantages by enhancing their capabilities, widening the scope of getting promoted and having greater possibilities of better opportunities outside the present organizations.
On the part of the employer, upskilling employees helps immensely in the form of saving resources that otherwise would have been used while recruiting and onboarding new candidates. The productivity of the organization increases due to a competitive advantage in the market. This is the main reason why companies invest heavily in upskilling. Recently Amazon has decided to invest a whopping $700 million for training programs named Upskilling 2025 for its huge workforce worldwide. It is basically devised to meet the need for technical skills on a greater scale. According to Beth Galetti, senior Vice President of Human Resources at Amazon,
"We think it’s important to invest in our employees to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves."
We can see such upskilling initiatives on the part of employers globally. Employers basically come up with upskilling programs for the following reasons –
- Upskilling enables organizations to adapt to change and achieve agility and transformation
- Upskilling employees help organizations to maximize productivity with existing resources
- Organizations can easily handle the sudden exit by any of its employees by providing a qualified successor without jeopardizing their operations
- Upskilling current employees can directly save huge resources required to onboard new employees
- Company attracts more candidates
- Upskilling fetches great competitive advantages that help the organization survive in a critical time
- Upskilling helps produce high-quality product and services that ultimately help to widen the customer base and accordingly revenue
The widening skill gap is a grave concern for both governments and business enterprises equally. The developing countries like India are facing a skill gap to a greater extent. The Indian government has come up with initiatives such as Skill India to bridge the skill gap with the help of Skill Development Programs for youth. Recently the government has appointed a Task Force for Closing the Skill Gap in India as a public-private collaboration with the World Economic Forum. The report by Capgemini Research Institute has concluded on a note that in the current era of automation, upskilling will enable organizations to unlock the full potential.