Why it is important to re-skill in an increasingly automated world
There have been cases where the career of an individual has been a complete accident and the individual has stuck through it
To stay attractive in such a dynamic marketplace, employees need to constantly look at re-skilling, talent upgradation and training
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Are you at a position in your career wondering what you are going to do for the next 10 years, or even for that matter for the rest of your life? Have you regretted not taking up different subjects when you were studying so that it would have allowed you the bandwidth to try something different? If the answer to both the questions is yes, then it is time to take stock. It is time to re-skill.
What is re-skilling? The dictionary definition would be to train (workers) to acquire new or improved skills. The ability and the willingness to change, to acquire new skills, to learn and to have the foresight to not make yourself redundant are things that need to be developed in any manager. And these are things that they don’t teach you in B-Schools.
Re-skilling need not necessarily be just about actively learning new skills; it would also be about going for higher education. For example, Mandarin has emerged as a popular language course at some of the Indian Institutes of Management, especially at IIM-Ahmedabad, IIM-Bangalore and IIM-Calcutta. “Realisation has dawned that our future business lies with China and we cannot be left behind if we have to make a mark on the world economic stage,” said professor S Swaminathan who teaches Business Chinese – Language Course at IIM-B, in an interview to Times of India. The Chinese business course helps students carry out day-to-day conversations on a vocabulary base of 550 words.
One would like to believe that people plan their careers from the beginning ie from college. Ideally, joining the course of study for the kind of job you want to do would be prudent. But, there have been cases where the career of an individual has been a complete accident and more than often not the individual has stuck through it as he/she felt confused about what to do with the career. Of course, the percentage of such folks out there is miniscule, but even an individual or a manager who specializes in a specific field after working in the system for about two to three years would agree that unless you encounter constant challenges and develop your skills, you will be stuck at a particular level or a field for years. With automation invading business sectors like never before, it would be wise to start making yourself more useful than you think you should.
For Generation Y or millennials, changing jobs is not a new thing. If they feel that the job is not the right fit for them, then they would leave it irrespective of whether they have one or not. In fact, this generation believes in the concept of re-skilling. “It is a big challenge to stay employable and attractive in the job market. Also, with changing dynamics and the emergence of newer technologies, people are forced to unlearn the old and learn new things. For instance, someone who wants to make a career in emerging technologies like Big Data or analytics might take up a crash course in statistics,” said Ankita Vashistha, MD at Tholons Global Institute, a skilling/re-skilling outfit, in an interview to Times of India.
According to a recent study by Kelly Services, a global recruitment firm, a large chunk of the workforce in the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific is looking at skill enhancement and career development compared to their global peers. As many as 69 per cent of Indian employees are either actively seeking or considering further education or training, significantly higher than in Europe and the Americas.
The survey was conducted among 1,20,000 respondents across 31 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the APAC regions. In India, employees from the IT sector along with engineering and healthcare industries were the ones who opted for upskilling the most.
The Kelly Global Workforce 2013 had some really interesting insights:
About 57 per cent of the respondents said they would upgrade their skills for promotion prospects with the current employer, while 47 per cent said they would re-skill for advancement at another company
About 42 per cent said they would re-skill to enter a new field of work
Fields that are upskilling to pursue a new field of work: Mathematics, Engineering & IT; Least likely fields are: Science, healthcare, education
The most valued skill development is on the job experience (70 per cent), followed by continued education & training (58 per cent) and seminars/webinars (26 per cent).
The prime reason for undertaking training in the Americas and APAC is to gain promotion with their current employer. However, it’s a different story in EMEA, where about half of employees focus on gaining a promotion, and are almost equally motivated by a desire to switch employers or even enter a new ﬁeld of work
Nirmala Menon, CEO of Interweave, a Bangalore-based consulting firm which focuses on diversity issues, told a national daily that in the past banks hired only from banks while FMCG companies picked up people who had prior experience in the FMCG space. “That era is well over. Today, enterprises compete to get onboard people with cross-functional expertise, to infuse knowledge diversity into their organization. To stay attractive in such a dynamic marketplace, employees need to constantly look at re-skilling, talent upgradation and training,” said Menon.