Upskilling and Going Back To School: When, How and Why You Should

Many organizations struggle to find qualified employees, and when they do, salary competition frequently makes them unaffordable. American workers need to see “immediate and unprecedented investments” in job training and placements, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board stated in May 2020, echoing the sentiments of many business leaders we have since surveyed. The message is clear: Upskill your workers.

Upskilling isn’t just about digital know-how in fields that rely on knowledge workers; it also includes the necessary skills that come with automating manual processes to free up workers for higher-value tasks. An entry-level accountant now has more time to analyze, interpret, and communicate findings internally because they no longer have to manually enter data. However, it’s entirely possible that they were not taught these abilities in a traditional setting.

To address the shortage of knowledge workers, more businesses are relying on upskilling or continuous learning. They are assisting current workers to develop the competencies required to “grow into” job openings and preparing them to advance up the org chart. Upskilling enables employees to develop and change in step with technological advancements and business priorities. Often, it’s less expensive than hiring. According to consulting company Accenture, reskilling and upskilling—the latter of which refers to teaching “adjacent” skills rather than more complex ones—represent a 6x cost savings over hiring new talent.

Upskilling has many advantages, but not all businesses have fully embraced it yet. According to the international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), small and medium-sized businesses participate in training programs at a rate that is half that of their larger competitors. It’s primarily because creating continuous learning programs seems difficult due to time and financial constraints. There are probably questions at play, too. We’d emphasize the alternative scenario: What if you don’t upskill them and they stay?

How and when you should upskill a VA

The benefits of upskilling or going back to school

In addition to the advantages of investing in your career path, there are a number of current factors that make upskilling, reskilling, or returning to school a good idea. Possessing in-demand skills can help you maintain your job during economic turmoil. Here’s why and how you can upskill strategically:

The preexisting and widening skills gap

Therefore, despite the fact that there were many applicants for each position that was open, none of them possessed the necessary skills. The hard and soft skills listed below were most lacking in the applicant pool, according to the employers surveyed:

Hard skills:

Soft skills:

Additionally, recent Indeed data revealed that among the top 10 skills listed in new job postings by employers in 2020, communication skills consistently placed first. Your chances of landing a job (and getting paid well for it) may increase if you upskill to fill a need in the economy.

Post COVID-19 economy shows a priority shift

Companies continue to be affected by COVID-19 on a global scale, which has led to a reorientation of business objectives, requirements, and priorities in addition to layoffs, downsizing, and closures. The demands on businesses, workers, and job candidates have skyrocketed.

Both small and large businesses must adapt to their current operating environment and future-proof themselves against potential economic crises in order to succeed. As a result, businesses now more than ever need qualified personnel to aid in their recovery, stabilization, and development of security for the future of the company. To help them achieve their new goals, employers are looking for the following qualities in job candidates:

In fact, according to Indeed data, employers searched for communication skills as one of the top resume skills in 2020. Here are a few more instances of soft skills that employers in the modern economy value:

When you should upskill or go back to school

If you can, right now is a great time to concentrate on developing your skills in any area. In this dynamic and uncertain job market, improving your credentials will help you keep your job, find a new one, or advance in your career regardless of your employment status, career level, proficiencies, or the industry you serve.

Consider asking yourself the following questions to help you decide if now is the right time for you to upgrade your skills and/or return to school:

How to upskill yourself in your current career

It might be a good idea for you to upgrade your skills whether you have a job or are looking for one in your field. Here’s how to do it:

If you’re employed…

If you’re unemployed…

Whether you’re unemployed as a result of a temporary furlough or a permanent layoff, now could be the ideal time to enroll in a program that focuses on your skills or to return to school to earn a higher degree. If you’re unemployed and considering upskilling, follow these steps:

If you’re a new grad or changing careers…

If you’re looking for entry-level positions or want to change careers, you need to know where to start upskilling for your resume. Here’s how to start the process:

Tips to remember when upskilling

Upskilling can be a frightening thought regardless of your career status or background, but most of the time, education is valuable because it’s an investment in your future. Here are some additional tips to remember while upskilling:

1. Preliminary research will always serve you well

Nothing serves you more effectively than in-depth research, whether you’re considering enrolling in an online course in your field of expertise or returning to school to study a completely different subject. Visit forums online, speak with friends, read books, go to conferences, and informational seminars You will be able to make the best career decisions thanks to all the knowledge you gather from thorough research.

2. Education does not have to be cost-prohibitive, face-to-face or time-consuming

There are many different types of education, and they don’t all have to be expensive or involve a lot of studying. Colleges and online learning programs recognize the value of both a work-life balance and affordability as a result of how technology and society have developed together. The majority of institutions offer part-time, self-paced, low-residency, and virtual education in addition to payment options and scholarships.

A large number of free courses are offered by some universities, online learning platforms, and nonprofit organizations to support the development of our economy and to teach subjects that they are passionate about. Here is just a sample:

3. Learning does not have to be traditional

There are several alternatives to conventional in-person or online courses. Teachers and business professionals offer paid and unpaid webinars, conferences, networking occasions, podcasts, and online events to impart methods, proficiencies, skill sets, and ways of thinking. You can probably find a list of courses and events (in various event types) on the subject you’re interested in by conducting a quick online search.

4. Staying current within your industry is key

The requirements of your industry and profession are constant even though the economy is changing and new technology is a new constant. It’s helpful to stay up to date in order to make sure you are meeting those needs. You can do this by joining websites, podcasts, and newsletters related to your field of work.

5. Networking is priceless

6. Learning is not finite

Even though you should feel successful once you complete a worthwhile course, earn a prestigious certification, or earn an advanced degree, learning should not stop there. Your skills should advance as technology, the economy, your industry, and your business do. Regularly enrolling in classes, seminars, and training enhances the value of your work while also boosting your self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, and level of career satisfaction.


What should I do to upskill?

Upskill Yourself and Your Employees in 6 Steps
  1. Identify Your Goals. The first step to upskilling is identifying your end goal.
  2. Find Your Knowledge Gaps. …
  3. Step 3: Formulate a Plan. …
  4. Step 4: Learn New Skills. …
  5. Step 5: Act on your New Skills. …
  6. Step 6: Stay Adaptable.

How do you start Upskilling?

How to Start an Upskilling Program at Your Company
  1. Step 1: Define goals for your digital upskilling program. …
  2. Step 2: Understand your program inputs. …
  3. Step 3: Create your upskilling program. …
  4. Step 4: Set target business outcomes for your upskilling program.

Why do we need to upskill?

Upskilled employees are more likely to be productive, have better problem-solving skills, and perform better in general.

What skills do you need for Upskill?

Upskill : Your way to success
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
  • Business Analytics and Data Science.
  • Cybersecurity.
  • Full Stack Development.
  • Digital Marketing.

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