Upskilling and Reskilling: The Key to Thriving in 2021

January 8, 2021 ManpowerGroup ManpowerGroup

Large-scale changes in 2020 shifted work needs from industries like aviation and hospitality to driving, healthcare and IT at an unprecedented scale. The transformations reinforced the need for employees to reskill and upskill themselves like never before. In a recent episode of ManpowerGroup’s Transform Talent Podcast, Johnny Campbell, CEO/Co-Founder of SocialTalent, talks about the need to reskill and upskill for this dramatic change, and how that will be the key to thriving in 2021. 

Defining upskilling and reskilling
Upskilling and reskilling are related but not the same thing. Upskilling is like updating skills, and pertains to a job that is still evolving and needs continual training. For example, in COVID times someone who works in industrial cleaning may have to upskill and learn about medical-level cleanliness. Reskilling relates to pivoting to perform a new job skill when the previous job doesn't exist or is becoming less in demand. 

Continuous learning advantage
At the core, both upskilling and reskilling rely on a desire to continuously learn, or Learnability. “Everyday things are certainly changing and therefore it's best that you are constantly upskilling and developing new skills,” said Campbell. “Some of which you may use, some of which you may not use, but you're going to have more opportunities for you as a worker if you are continuously learning.”

Human skills in demand
What are traditionally called soft skills –– or human skills –– are becoming more popular, according to Campbell. A human skill can be leadership, persuasion or influence. As organizations rely more on computers and technology that can replace hard skill duties, humans are needed to manage and strategize. These are skills that require constant upskilling or reskilling. “It's why we're seeing a growth in healthcare jobs because we are doubling down on those human skills and you aren't seeing machines and robots taking over there,” Campbell said. “But also in the workplace, leadership, coaching, these are all skills that we're seeing, really, really high critical reasoning and trying to evaluate all the different options in a human context.” 

No matter where employees are in their skills, everyone can benefit from additional upskilling or reskilling. For more of the skills revolution discussion, listen to the Transform Talent podcast

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