Excerpted from The SHRM Blog By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano

As employees return to the new normal, employers face tough choices regarding shortcomings in skills and knowledge that were laid bare by the forced telecommuting following the pandemic shutdown.

A 2018 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study found that 50 percent of jobs ran the risk of greatly changing or becoming obsolete. After COVID-19, that’s even more possible. Thanks to all of the workplace adaptations due to the pandemic, the question for many becomes how to re-educate the available workforce to fill the vast void in new digital technologies.

Reskilling vs. Upskilling

Reskilling and upskilling are both important tools for closing the skills gap in today’s technology workforce. Upskilling involves learning new skills or teaching workers new skills, while reskilling involves learning new skills to qualify for a different job or teaches employees new skills to help them get a new job in the same company or elsewhere.

Reskilling focuses on creating new skill sets so individuals can qualify for new positions and upskilling teaches new skills for the same job. Unlike reskilling, upskilling merely requires an enhancement of skills for a role that remains relevant. Typically, reskilling programs require a degree or certification that individuals complete through corporate learning initiatives or outside education institutes. Employers who wish to start upskilling/reskilling programs must first identify the skills needed to leverage the new technologies that will benefit their organizations.
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