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The Actual Difference Between Upskilling and Reskilling and How They Help Build Better Teams

Every industry is suffering from significant talent shortages, with the tech sector alone predicting losses of $162 billion and continual job cuts. It’s a strange time for employers and employees. While businesses struggle to fill the voids in their workforce, professionals desperately need new skills to meet ever-changing industry demands.

A report by Korn Ferry showed the global talent shortage could be around 85 million people by 2030. Not staggering enough? Ah, financial losses are always more motivating!

Fast forward to 2030; Happy New Year and all that jazz. The talent shortage is still alive and kicking businesses’ butts. Oh, and there’s $8.5 trillion lost thanks to unrealized annual revenue streams.

Not millions or billions, but trillions of dollars!

With no quick fix on the horizon, businesses must be creative and diligent in their approach. If there isn’t enough talent with the appropriate skills to go around, it’s time to look at what you already have. Upskilling and reskilling employees is an effective way to create and repurpose talent.

It’s important not to confuse the two, as upskilling and reskilling are unique and offer individual benefits to employers and employees.

The difference between upskilling and reskilling

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling strategies improve employee skills, knowledge, and competencies — ensuring they have the appropriate qualifications and capabilities to do their job. Continuous training and development offers the tools to adapt to technological changes, role requirements, and industry demands.

Unfortunately, the skill requirements of industries such as tech often outpace learning and training systems. Thus creating a disconnect between the skills employers require and those candidates possess, resulting in a shortage of specialized skill sets. Technology is the driving force behind modern business. Ironically, its rapid evolution is partly responsible for skills gaps. And those gaps need to be filled, which is where reskilling comes into play.

What is Reskilling?

Reskilling offers employees brand-new abilities, often outside their current role’s requirements. Amidst the most significant talent crunch in recent memory (or ever), reskilling is the lifeline businesses need to modernize and upgrade their workforce. And the need to reskill isn’t a message falling on deaf ears, with the corporate training market set to reach $487.3 billion by 2030. Skill gaps are a massive problem for entire industries. If you don’t invest in your people, someone else will.

Also, upskilling and reskilling are incredibly beneficial for employee morale, productivity, and retention. Training shouldn’t be viewed as an expense. It’s an investment. Employees who receive training and gain tools for progression are fiercely loyal and passionate, with 64% of employees claiming they’d leave their jobs due to minimal skills development.

People want to grow, want to flourish, and want to know their corporate culture takes pride in employee development.” – Lina Szaks, Multiplier SVP of Operations.

Trained employees are the difference-makers who’ll carry your company on their shoulders while developing a Swiss army knife of skills. Put simply, success in today’s corporate landscape requires more than skills. You need people who strive to be the very best they can be.

Build better, more skillful teams

Many businesses are training employees and scouring the globe for new blood because of the distinct lack of available talent. In troubling times, creativity and an open mind will save the day. At Multiplier, we see this daily while helping clients find talent and facilitate global employment. Skill gaps won’t go away with recruitment alone, and that’s okay.

Upskilling and reskilling offer many benefits and present a unique opportunity to develop better, more robust teams — forming a multi-purpose solution for dealing with some of the trickier challenges brought on by the talent shortage.

Catching up with technology (good luck!)

It’s not quite Skynet and Terminator territory. But technology is advancing quicker than ever, making it difficult for us mere mortals to keep up. One of the most significant gaps is employees lacking the skills and understanding to accommodate technological changes. Companies implement new software and processes daily, which must learnt and explored before an employee can use them effectively.

During our recent HR Exchange webinar, technology being a key factor in skill shortages was a key talking point.

The constant evolution of technology, in my opinion, leads to high demand for skilled tech professionals who keep up with the latest trends and tools.” – Lina Szaks, Multiplier SVP of Operations.

While most of us are pretty tech-savvy at this point, specialized tools and industry-specific knowledge require training. An IBM study showed that 84% of employees from the best-performing organizations receive essential training, compared to the 16% from the worst-performing companies that don’t.

Keeping up with vital technologies is only possible by investing in upskilling and reskilling. And when you’re not effectively using the latest tech, you fall behind. It’s called the digital age for a reason. This is where tech-based skill gaps form and fail to be plugged, and before you know it, your competitors are ahead, and you’re scrambling to get back on track.

AI could be a solution, not a problem… but we’ll see

We can’t talk about technology without mentioning the great and powerful AI. The concept of AI has been a talking point for years, from iRobot to ChatGBT. Over 300 million global jobs are set to be impacted by AI and automation, which may sound terrifying, but it’s also an opportunity.

If you plan to introduce AI and encourage automation, it’s an ideal springboard to upskill and reskill employees rather than making them obsolete. AI saves time and money, which can be better spent enhancing employee abilities and crafting new foundations for the future. Let the AI handle the tedious, day-to-day stuff. Give your employees (and your business) a chance to grow and develop impactful, specialized skill sets.

If there’s one thing we know from the current talent crunch, it’s that all the technology in the world can’t prevent or fix it. There must be a balance between advanced tech and people who can effectively wield it. AI cannot simply replace people; it’s too risky. However, AI to supplement employee development and growth  — now, that’s an idea to get behind.

Baby boomers are retiring

No, this isn’t the part of the article where we tell the boomers to keep up or fall behind. Because how can they if they don’t have access to much-needed training? See, it’s a universal problem regardless of age, location, or the company you work for.

It’s 2023, which means that many baby boomers are retiring. Out with the old, in with the new, right? Rude, but technically, yes. This is another catalyst for the predicted $8.5 trillion skills shortage. When a generation retires, it causes a massive impact, creating skill gaps, and companies lose experienced workers. What could possibly be the solution, you know, for teaching new skills and encouraging career development?

You’re going to make us say it, aren’t you? Fine. Invest in upskilling and reskilling employees in addition to diversifying your recruitment strategies. This three-pronged approach is the best way to fight against Father Time because:

  • Reskilling: Retirement skill gaps can be problematic and leave huge holes. Reskilling is critical for further leveling up skilled and experienced employees, helping them to deal with the challenges and responsibilities of stepping into more senior positions.
  • Upskilling: Continually training your employees ensures your team’s quality and reliability. Regular training and development upgrade your workforce, leading to fewer skill gaps and an environment where learning is crucial to the career journey. If someone leaves the company, you should always have worthy replacements in the wings.
  • Diversified recruitment: While training and development are crucial, you can’t ignore the talent market. Diversifying your recruitment is essential to cope with current and future talent shortages. Seek new skills, be creative with role requirements, explore uncharted professional territories, and look everywhere for talent.

You can always go global

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that remote and global employment are not only viable, they can make businesses thrive. Many of the world’s leading tech hubs have many opportunities but too few skilled professionals to fill positions. This can create regional balances that spread across entire industries, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The tech industry’s market share is 35% in America, 32% in Asia, and 22% in Europe. Whether inside or outside these markets, the talent awaits you. Happy hunting!

However, hiring global talent can be a tricky experience unless you have the right tools for the job. Multiplier helps businesses hire talent from all over the world, acting as the employer of record (EOR). Don’t just settle for the most convenient hire, but the BEST talent, regardless of geographical location.

Has your business felt the impact of the talent shortage? It’s time to upskill, reskill, and take advantage of the global talent market. Talk to our experts today!

If you missed our recent HR Exchange webinar, check it out now to learn more about “How to Shatter Barriers and Embrace a World Without Borderless in Hiring.”

Will Smith
Will Smith

Content Writer

Will is a content writer at Multiplier. With a background in technology journalism, he is passionate about busting jargon, getting to the heart of complex topics, and (hopefully) writing pieces you'll enjoy reading.

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Employ the best person for job, regardless of location

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