What Is Reskilling, and Why Do We Need It Now More Than Ever

Published February 14th, 2021 - 07:00 GMT
What Is Reskilling, and Why Do We Need It Now More Than Ever
Reskilling involves training employees on an entirely new set of skills to prepare them to take on a different role within the company. (Shutterstock)

The pandemic alongside advancements in technology have led to a double disruption in the business world. This disruption has led to the loss of many jobs and the emergence of many new roles. Therefore it is instrumental for companies to adopt digital transformation in order to secure their place in the market. 

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimate, technology is said to transform more than 1B jobs worldwide. This number contributes to about one third of jobs worldwide and raises alarm bells that should not be ignored. Furthermore, about 42% of core skills are also expected to change by 2022 says the World Economic Forum (WEF). These numbers in addition to the many changes that the fourth industrial revolution and digital transformation has introduced highlights the need for new skills. 

With the evolution and transformation of jobs, it is necessary for businesses to work on reskilling their employees. Reskilling involves training employees on an entirely new set of skills to prepare them to take on a different role within the company. To do so, companies should shift their focus on fast-growing professions such as data and AI, engineering and cloud computing, product development and green economy. Governments and businesses should also work together to help people transition into new jobs.

This can be done through offering training courses and proactively working towards making investments in the markets of tomorrow. The Future of Job Reports 2020 suggests that 2 out of 3 employers will see a ROI within one year of reskilling. In addition, another WEF report released in 2021 suggests that investments in upskilling can increase the GDP by 6.5B by 2030. The WEF has also launched the Reskilling Revolution in 2020 to help governments and employers across the globe prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. Another major point that the WEF is working on tackling is the fact that there is no shared workbook on skills. That is why it worked on creating a common taxonomy that provides employers and governments with reskilling and upskilling practices. 

“Millions of jobs have been lost through the pandemic, while accelerating automation and digitization mean that many are unlikely to return. We need new investments in the jobs of tomorrow, the skills people need for moving into these new roles and education systems that prepare young people for the new economy and society. Initiatives like the Reskilling Revolution hold the key to converting ideas into action and creating the necessary coordination between the public and the private sectors. There is no time to waste,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.

A survey by KPMG states that around 28% of employees in the UAE will require reskilling and upskilling. Artificial Intelligence pioneers in the MENA region are also working on preparing employees for the future. It is reported that many companies in South Africa, UAE and Turkey are working to adopt reskilling programs. Amazon, for instance, aims to invest more than $700B in upskilling training programs. 

In general, many countries and governments are working toward reskilling and upskilling employees, however, more needs to be done in order to proactively revive the economy and prepare for the future. This time has proven to be difficult for all, but it could also be our chance to reset and create a healthier and better future.


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