The Future of Work: Reskilling and Upskilling in the Age of AI
The rapid advancement of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about significant changes in the world of work. As industries evolve and job requirements shift, organizations and governments are faced with the challenge of reskilling and upskilling their workforce to remain competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
According to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that more than 1 billion people will need to be reskilled by 2030. This highlights the urgency for companies to invest in developing the skills of their existing employees. Not only is reskilling a proactive approach to adapt to the changing landscape, but it also makes financial sense. LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report states that 79% of learning and development (L&D) leaders agree that it is more cost-effective to reskill current employees than to hire new ones.
Reskilling involves acquiring new abilities that prepare employees for new roles, career transitions, or industry shifts. It is focused on providing individuals with the tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing job market. On the other hand, upskilling aims to improve or expand existing skills to remain competent in a specific role or field. While upskilling is essential, reskilling is increasingly critical in the age of AI.
Technological disruption has already made some jobs obsolete, and this trend is only set to continue. In such cases, reskilling employees for new roles involving emerging technologies or retraining them for other positions within the company can be a more desirable alternative to workforce reduction. For example, cashiers being replaced by self-checkout machines can be retrained for roles in warehouse logistics or retail customer service.
Another scenario where reskilling is crucial is when organizations need to transition from brick-and-mortar business models to eCommerce. This shift requires employees to develop the technical and digital know-how to adapt to the changing customer expectations and market demands. Reskilling efforts should thus focus on equipping employees with the necessary skills to thrive in the digital landscape.
Reskilling also plays a vital role in retaining top talent. Employees may seek career changes or transitions to explore new interests or utilize their untapped abilities. By providing the necessary training and mentoring, organizations can retain valuable employees who already understand the company’s goals and values while also encouraging growth opportunities.
Furthermore, reskilling becomes paramount in industries experiencing transformation or convergence. As industries redefine themselves due to disruptions caused by other sectors, reskilling employees with expertise in outdated technologies or practices becomes necessary for survival. For instance, traditional energy companies must reskill their employees with expertise in fossil fuel extraction to work in sustainable or renewable energy fields to keep pace with the transition.
In conclusion, the era of AI brings about rapid changes in job requirements and skills. To stay competitive and innovative, organizations must prioritize reskilling and upskilling their workforce. While upskilling is important for maintaining competency, reskilling is crucial to prepare employees for new roles, career transitions, or industry shifts. With jobs evolving and skills becoming obsolete faster than ever before, reskilling is a long-term investment that will pay dividends in the future. By embracing reskilling, organizations can not only remain competitive but also unlock the full potential of their employees and ensure a brighter future for both work and personal fulfillment.