The global workforce is changing in a way we’ve never seen before. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic surfaced and changed the way we work and connect, a study published in November showed that 61% of workers believe that technological advances like AI and robotics are greatly affecting their jobs and will continue to do so. No matter what industry you’re in, the jobs needed and the skills required to do them are constantly being redefined. The ability to adapt to and prepare for change is more important now than ever.
To take action and future proof your career you can resort to upskilling and reskilling. Market research shows that at least 54% of employees will need reskilling and upskilling by the end of 2022. Both terms refer to learning something new to stay relevant, adapt to changes, and advance your career. Reskilling is the process of learning new skills for a completely different job. This is being seen the most in jobs like sales, administration, and hospitality where robotics are slowly replacing certain job functions. Upskilling is the process of adopting new skills to advance in your current position, like mastering a new technology relevant to your industry.
Reskilling and upskilling aren’t just about learning high-tech skills, although those will certainly help. It’s all about becoming multi-faceted and developing strong interpersonal skills to weather whatever career changes are thrown your way. After all, it’s equally important to know how to approach new problems as it is to know the ins and outs of new technologies. To excel in the future, people worldwide are focusing on becoming good collaborators, creative thinkers, solid communicators, and powerful leaders.
How do you start upskilling and/or reskilling?
The key is having the right mindset and making an action plan.
To get in the right mindset, you need to be open to continuous learning. When you’re thinking of the future, consider the additional skills you may need and how you can get them. Approach this process with a beginner’s mind. This refers to being open and eager to learn something new no matter what level of expertise you have in your industry. This will help foster a love of learning which is critical in staying ahead of any future changes. A beginner’s mind will also help you be comfortable with the fact that learning skills needed for multiple professions over the span of your career path might be the new norm. Make sure you stay open to new jobs, industries, and learning opportunities.
Once you’re in the right mindset, it’s time to make an action plan. The perfect time to do this is when you’re career planning since you’re already considering how you want to grow in the future. Think about what skills could give you a competitive edge over others and how else you can separate yourself from the pack. This could involve concrete actions like learning digital tools, engaging in different types of projects at work, or going back to school. When considering school, think about a program that will give you a combination of skills so you’re prepared no matter what happens in the future. For example, an MBA combines technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills to equip students across industries and job functions for success. This gives you flexibility so that when inevitable changes happen you can use your skills and MBA network to pivot to a new job or another industry.
While change may be inevitable, being unprepared doesn’t have to be. No matter whether you choose to upskill or reskill, you’ll be ready for whatever your future career path throws your way.