Career Trends: Reskill or Upskill – The Skill Dilemma

3 min read

Edition: September 29th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


Reskilling or upskilling is a critical survival strategy today for company growth. (Image Credit: Getty)

Various credible studies state that the AI revolution will displace 85 million jobs in the next five years and create 97 million new ones. The most competitive professionals will be those who choose to either reskill or upskill themselves.

What are reskilling and upskilling?

The meaning of Reskilling and Upskilling is different from each other however both intend to enhance your capabilities and employability skills.

Upskilling refers to honing applicable skills to advance in one’s current work profile. It is more about improving your current skill set and updating and upgrading yourself as a professional within your current position or organisation.

Reskilling refers to learning new skills to perform a different new job. It enhances your chances to transit to a different desired role or another organisation by learning new skills. 

Which learning process is more important?

Individual career needs are unique in nature. Your current career needs should decide whether you go for upskilling or reskilling.

Research Data from Coursera says:

  • One can master any demanding skill within the sales and marketing field in 2 months.
  • In 3 months, one can enhance their skills in new areas like data mining, artificial intelligence or big data.
  • Those who want to hone technical skills like cloud computing and engineering can make it happen in 5 months.

Upskilling or Reskilling – The Business Perspective

The World Economic Forum, in their Job skill report 2020, emphasises that, ‘A new sense of urgency for the reskilling revolution has started’.

In the fourth industrial revolution, all sectors would be highly influenced by the emergence of new technologies, creating massive green economy jobs. The requirement would be primarily for people equipped to take up roles with frontline capability in areas like artificial intelligence, cloud computing and new advances of data mining and product development.

This triggers a need for the global workforce to reskill themselves in the forthcoming years.

As many as 66% of the employers surveyed expected to see a return on investment in upskilling or reskilling of their current employees.

The Skill Gap

In a study, 83% of HR professionals surveyed confirmed that they couldn’t find the best fit for roles in the last year, and 75% of them said that there was a huge unavailability of the required skills.

The 8th edition of the India Skills Report (ISR) 2021 on the post-COVID landscape of Talent Demand and Supply in India shares that the youth employability stands at only 45.9% consisting of highly employable resources. This necessitates reskilling and upskilling.

A Sustainable Strategy

The uncertain time and the changing job market are worsening the skill dilemma and is eventually shortening the shelf life of core skills, shifting the demand of work constantly. 

In this competitive business world, the only way to sustain the change and maintain the leadership position, for organisations, is to create a skilled workforce by having a constant reskilling and upskilling approach to neutralise the skill gap. The same strategy applies to individual growth.

Reskilling and/or upskilling is a critical survival strategy today – not just for individuals but also for companies.


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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