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Reskilling vs. Upskilling - DiFin

Understanding the Difference Between Reskilling and Upskilling

April 10, 2018By Admin

Today, the corporate world is on the brink of an epochal transition. According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, more than 375 million workers may need to completely change their skill sets by the year 2030. This would happen because of newer technologies such as digitization, AI (artificial intelligence) and automation disrupting the world of work. As a result, a number of employees are focusing to pursue additional degrees and certifications in these technologies, either through self-finance or by taking loan for short term courses. So, how big is this challenge that can potentially change occupational skill sets? If we talk about numbers, this change would be akin to coping with the 20th-century shift from agriculture to manufacturing in Europe and North America. That said, things are about to change for the better, with several key corporate players increasingly investing in “reskilling” and “upskilling” their existing workforce. The words may sound similar, however, they have drastically different meanings. Let’s find out more about the two buzz words in this post.

What’s the Difference between “Re-skilling” and “Up-skilling”?

Going by the exact definition depicted in the Cambridge dictionary, “reskill”, essentially means “to learn new skills so that you can do a different job”. In general, reskilling is undertaken by organizations in which long-term employees are either made redundant or laid off. Subsequently, the employee can be reskilled and utilized into a completely different career. To participate in a reskill program, the individual can opt to be sent to a college or trade school to earn a degree or certification in a different technology or field. After the completion of the program, the individual can become employable once again. If we talk about “Upskilling”, the exact definition says that “to learn new skills or to teach workers new skills”. In other words, upskilling specifically implies to enhance an employee’s abilities who are staying within the same job profile. Unlike reskilling, which requires an individual to earn a completely new degree or certification, upskilling requires an employee to enhance their value to the organization by improving their current skill set. Both, however, require self-financing or by applying for a low interest education loan.

Main Barriers Related to Reskilling and Upskilling

According to the McKinsey Global Institute report, almost one-third of the executives feel an urgent need to re-evaluate and upgrade their current occupational skill set. Many organizations are also finding it a challenge to figure out how job roles will change in near future and what kind of talent will they require over the next decade. Such high amounts of anxiety are quite understandable. With the number of newer technologies disrupting the corporate space, much of the traditional training and reskilling goes off the track because it charters no clear pathway towards the new work profiles, doesn’t provide much exposure to practical knowledge, and fails to promise a return on investment. That said, many organizations are empowering their existing employees to improve their productivity (upskilling) in an attempt to reduce the need for reskilling. Likewise, more and more employees are focusing to realize the potential dividends of investments made into learning newer technologies such as automation and AI (reskilling).

The Final Verdict

Although upskilling and reskilling are two completely different approaches, they can both help define your career path. Depending on your career aspirations, either one of them can certainly help move your career along. Reskilling can help you recover from poor choices that you may have made in your education (for example, earlier focusing on software, but subsequently realizing that hardware was more suitable for you). In case, you don’t feel like undergoing the same grind of pursuing a degree, you can opt for any short-term certification course (either self-financed or through a ​loan for short term/vocational courses​) and upskill your current occupational skill set. No matter what choice you make, always improve your existing skill levels by investing in further learning. For a financial support, you can approach any reliable education loan provider agency of your area. These agencies can provide you a number of options for a loan for your further higher studies, so that you can focus on your career without worrying about your financial crisis anymore.

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