Upskilling is vital. If you are seeking a job, ensuring your business is nimble, or tackling a career challenge, upskilling will be an essential part of your new year. Here’s why.
If you run a business
Upskilling employees is cheaper than replacing them.
According to Gallup, replacing an employee is expensive: from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary. And that’s probably a low estimate. When you lose an employee, you lose their relationships with customers and their knowledge of critical systems and workflows. A better investment is upskilling them on what they need to succeed.
Upskilling can help you diversify your team. Women and especially women of color lost significant ground during the pandemic. Even prior to the crisis, progress toward parity between men and women in technical roles had been falling steadily. Upskilling has been shown to improve diversity in leadership ranks, which is not only the right thing to do but also improves the bottom line. Be sure to make advancement learning available to ALL employees, of every race and gender as well as people with differing learning styles.
Technology is speeding up. And yet half of executives feel that a lack of familiarity with technology is a barrier to digitally transforming their companies. A global survey of 4,300 managers and executives shows that 90% of workers feel they need to update their skills annually just to keep up. This is one area where retraining can help.
If you downsized your business during the pandemic, upskilling your workforce can help you gain relevance. According to McKinsey, “to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, companies should start reskilling their workforces now.” Two researchers from the Aspen Institute say adding skills is the only way workers taking on new roles in downsized companies will be able to function: upskilling “is a lifeline that turns an overwhelmed and unprepared employee into one with the knowledge and skills to take on new tasks confidently and capably.”
If you are a worker…
Upskilling is essential if you want to move up. Employees can take on new leadership roles when they add new knowledge and skills. With all the remote learning opportunities available, it’s great to know that e-learning boost retention by 25 to 60% (as opposed to 8-10% with traditional training).
You need tech skills for the distance economy. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers—or 14 percent of the global workforce—would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence. One Brookings study found that the share of jobs requiring a high level of digital skills more than tripled—to encompass nearly a quarter of all jobs— between 2002 and 2016. And the share of jobs requiring AI skills has grown 4.5X since 2013. The benefits of digital transformation are everywhere, from improving customer engagement and revenue to boosting employee morale.
Adding a certification to help you do your job better and get better pay. Workers with certifications such as PMP (Project Management Professional) earn more than their non-certified counterparts. According to one study, PMP’s earn 22 percent higher salaries than their non-certified peers across 42 countries.
If you are self-employed, now is the time to increase your learning. And you may even get tax deduction for the cost. In addition to improving digital skills, consider what knowledge will make you better at running your small business. For example, there are loads of great courses in everything from public speaking to accounting on LinkedIn Learning.
Amy DeLouise owns a digital media company and helps people improve their digital and entrepreneurial skills with courses on LinkedIn Learning.