Importance Of Reskilling & Upskilling

The recent trends will result in the redesign of almost every job, as well as new perspectives on workforce planning and the nature of work


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Recent technological developments such as sensors, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, smart networks and cognitive computing have gone main stream along with the open talent economy. Companies can no longer consider their workforce the only employees on their balance sheet, but must also include freelancers and “gig economy” workers.

Together, these recent trends will result in the redesign of almost every job, as well as new perspectives on workforce planning and the nature of work.

A change is already under way: we are now in what is referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (‘Industry 4.0’), which will influence our working environments significantly. Some of the areas we can expect to see change will be in purchase, production, manufacturing, sales or maintenance, by including concepts such as smart manufacturing, smart maintenance, couples with a high degree of automation and integration in all enterprise processes. It will have far-reaching implications on business value creation, business models, downstream services and work allocation and organization. As a consequence, employees will be confronted with transformed work processes,new business models and new technologies.

Due to the disruptive nature of emerging technologies and modified structures for communication and collaboration, the model of work organization that we know today will transform and continue to do so in the years to come. Processes will become increasingly interconnected and complex. The technical, organizational and social spheres of work activities will overlap.

Given the pace of change and the constant pressure to adapt, leaders have to invest significant time in building the organization of the future supplemented with ecosystems and networks to play support roles. Agility is crucial in the race to replace structural hierarchies with networks of teams empowered to take action. In this context, companies will have to continually help employees to adapt to changing paradigms. The concept of a traditional career is being shaken to its core, driving companies to provide continuous learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly, easily and on their own terms.

This transformation of the work environment will change job profiles and therefore require employees to be upskilled in a wide range of competencies. Practitioners and researchers agree that the key challenge lies in competency development for students and employees seeking jobs thatrequire higher education.

A holistic competency development approach is required to meet the challenges in this era. These competencies can be divided into two broad categories: competencies that a company should master, and competencies that employees should adopt.

Continuous reskilling and upskilling not only requires a mastery of fundamental subjects but also 21st century inter-disciplinary themes such as global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, health literacy, environmental literacy.

The Four C’s critical to adapting to a work environment in the 21st century are:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

Hence, the skills of the future cannot be reduced to those simply involving technology.

Self-driven individuals who display flexibility, accountability, social and cross-cultural skills will be able to navigate the organizations of the future. Some skills can be mastered quickly while others are more difficult and take longer to master, which is not only the function of the skill but also situational variables.

The conversation needs to shift to innovation, critical-thinking, creativity, civic engagement, social life - the full range of experiences that young people will be involved in in the future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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