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Reskilling and upskilling – Part 1 of 3: Why it matters?

15 Nov 2022

In the L&D industry, we don’t have an authority who sets the meanings of terms and strategies we see in learning and performance.

You can ask 12 people the definition of something (in this case, reskilling and upskilling) and get 14 different answers. So, let’s demystify and get to the real power of what reskilling and upskilling are, and how to use them to achieve business outcomes.

Let’s start with the definition: Reskilling and upskilling are similar; context is where they differ. Reskilling is learning entirely different skills for a new role while upskilling is learning skills that support or improve a current role. For example, you would upskill someone on a new programming language or product to use in their existing role.

As demand for new capabilities gathers pace, reskilling and upskilling can enable your organisation to develop the skills needed to remain competitive. By 2025, the Forum projects up to 85 million jobs could be displaced by a shift on the division of labour between machines and humans. At the same time, 97 million new roles are expected to be created, driven by advances in technology and continuous digital transformation. Even for the talent that is able to remain in their same roles, the expected share of core skills that will change is 40%. This emphasises the desperate need for reskilling in every job, department, and company, and with major change coming by 2025, the time to start is now.

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