A host of factors has dramatically driven tech companies’ growth and business mechanisms. These forces heightened the need for additional skilled talent and technology-oriented support teams globally.
Recruiting is critical to meeting this demand. But upskilling dedicated to current talent is also a key initiative. Upskilling allows employees to enhance their knowledge base, freshen up their hard and soft skills, advance their careers within a firm, and showcase their desire to support their company’s future needs. At the same time, upskilling allows employers to leverage current proven talent, support them in career advancement goals and, in many cases, prevent them from existing for greener pastures.
As per NASCOMM, India’s tech talent pool stands at 3.8M in FY2021, representing over 80% of the 4.7M tech industry employee base. Skills development has been considered one of the critical aspects for job creation in India. It makes sense for companies to tap into the unexposed talent pool in rural areas and make the IT sector more inclusive while improving employability. Industrialists and entrepreneurs are eagerly contributing to the development of new-age skills. Data shows about 800,000 people have been re-skilled last year as compared to about 600,000 the year before. The IT industry in India spends about 1% to 1.5% in reskilling employees.
Ready to upskill/reskill? A holistic analysis is in order. Companies must understand the specific needs and priorities of their team members, as well as the skilled talent they seek to attract. They must also understand why existing employees leave. It means thinking beyond just salary increases. The Great Attrition (a.k.a. the Great Resignation) is still being felt in many companies as valuable tech talent streams out the door to pursue bigger, better opportunities. Research has shown that a majority of employees surveyed want enhanced learning and development opportunities. What’s more, offering upskilling and training as an employee retention strategy can help maintain a competitive edge, especially in light of today’s fiercest battle for top tech talent. Those companies that can stand out from the crowd by offering enticing upskilling/reskilling programmes can be the benefactors.
Beyond offering upskilling as a corporate benefit, there is an underlying genuine need. Technology-based skills gap can be witnessed. Academia does its best to teach the latest technology and digital skills for today. But technology is continually evolving, and rapid changes -- along with shifting needs among companies that employ technology professionals -- means skill gaps present and can quickly widen into chasms. Bridging those identified gaps serves to benefit technology employees and tech companies.
Reimagining the workforce
Business leaders are feeling the heat. It’s time for organisations to redesign their recruitment and retention efforts and fully embrace upskilling as the talent economy has become increasingly skills driven. According to a McKinsey survey of more than 1,500 senior executives globally, 87% say their companies are not adequately prepared to address the skills gap. In another McKinsey survey, 61% of HR professionals believe hiring developers will be their biggest future challenge.
Upskilling/reskilling from within is a trend that is here to stay. By 2024, it is estimated that 40% of workers will require up to six months of reskilling, while 94% of business leaders expect their workers to pick up new skills. Investing in people will pay off. A staggering 93% of CEOs who have already introduced upskilling programmes are now seeing increased productivity, an improvement in talent acquisition and retention, and a more resilient workforce.
HR professionals must reduce hiring costs while bridging the current skills gap. Companies are always looking for bright, new talent, but sourcing it internally could be a smart move. Existing personnel may have the potential and desire to acquire the precise skills employers are seeking. Managers and senior leaders have a role to play here. They need to become not only champions in management but role models for lifelong learning. A continuous commitment needs to be addressed to improve one’s knowledge, skills, and competencies through formal and informal learning opportunities.
Now comes the biggest question: how to successfully upskill your workforce? Honestly, it depends on the company, people, and business structure. But here are a few strategies.
- Assess your current state, identify your desired future state and plot a strategy
- Invest in, develop, and deliver effective internal/external training
- Make training and development opportunities readily available and affordable for everyone
- Make learnings appropriate for your requirements and embrace changing needs
- Invest in your people before hiring externally
In a world of technological change, lifelong learning refers to the active investment by firms in future-ready skills and enduring capabilities. This allows for the intersection of humans and technology. Leaders will themselves need to upskill, develop and deepen their understanding to become the ushers to young employees.
Upskilling and reskilling can include self-management, empathy, and social skills. These abilities separate the most successful workers and leaders from the average. This is especially true in managerial and high-level executive roles. The end goal is to help organisations and teams stay uniformed, agile, and extremely productive, no matter where one sits to do the job!