In the wake of COVID-19, the importance of upskilling cannot be overstated. Even the most talented workers cannot currently take job security for granted.
At this point, virtually everyone could potentially be vulnerable to reduced numbers of work hours, furloughs, layoffs, redundancies, hiring freezes or outright unemployment. This is particularly true if you have been working in an industry such as hospitality, travel, oil or food service that has been dramatically disrupted by the onset of COVID-19 and its ensuing mutations.
The importance of upskilling and reskilling in today’s environment is getting the attention of media, too. Forbes and other publications are noting that workers who continue to build their skill sets have a higher likelihood of staying relevant in the workplace.
Upskilling Can Help You Move Towards Becoming Indispensable
In any situation where managing executives have to choose who to lay off and who to keep, they tend to retain the people who are seen as being indispensable to the business’ operations.
In the current, highly competitive job market, importance of upskilling highlights the difference between having your career advance or having it come to a screeching halt. This is because the people who are still employed, in many cases, must take on greater numbers of responsibilities. In addition to their usual duties, they’re also having to step up and do many of the tasks left behind by their colleagues who were laid off or transitioned into other departments.
If you find yourself in this situation, upskilling is one potential key to making yourself indispensable and, by extension, preserving your job. Employers are fully aware that retraining current employees is preferable to hiring new ones, because it’s prohibitively expensive to recruit, hire and train new candidates. If they can afford to keep you, they know it’s ideal to do so. But you might have to prove to them that you’re able to assume more responsibility than you have ever done before.
Upskilling Can Make You More Attractive to Other Employers
If you do happen to lose your job, upskilling can help you to secure a new one. Today’s job market is highly competitive, and you’ll have an edge over other job seekers if you’ve been diligent about keeping your skills updated.
What Sort of Upskilling (Or Reskilling) Should You Engage In?
There is no universally correct answer to the question of what skills would be best to acquire right now. However, the following skills are ones that sizable numbers of employers are currently seeking, which emphasizes the importance of upskilling:
Cloud Computing Skills – As increasing numbers of businesses move their computing operations to the cloud, there’s surging demand for employees who possess cloud computing skills.
Cybersecurity Skills – There are currently massive shortages of knowledgeable cybersecurity professionals. Every industry needs talent in this particular niche.
Data Management Skills – It doesn’t matter what industry you work in; in any case, data is useful to understand.
Blockchain Skills – If you work in either tech or finance, there will come a time when blockchain skills will be crucial for remaining employable. You might as well embrace this reality and obtain these skills sooner rather than later.
People Management Skills – Being able to lead and manage others is an invaluable skill. This skill set will be beneficial to you no matter what industry or future role you want to work in.
How Do You Undertake the Importance of Upskilling?
It’s prudent to start thinking of upskilling as one of those ongoing items on your to do list, sort of like checking email and keeping your desk tidy. You won’t ever be able to permanently cross it off your to do list. With that in mind, it’s helpful to think of multiple, varied approaches to upskilling:
- Check for TAFE courses that are relevant to your industry and enroll in one that would be most useful for securing your job.
- Consider obtaining a new certification that will keep your skills up-to-date in a relevant technology niche.
- Listen to industry-focused podcasts.
- Subscribe to your industry’s most prominent and useful trade publications.
- Read the books that top players in your industry are writing or recommending.
Now you’re updated on why you’d want to bother with the importance of upskilling, what skills you might want to consider acquiring and how to go about the task of obtaining them. This information is sure to be useful to you as you seek to adjust to the “new normal” in the aftermath of COVID-19 and its mutations.