Why It’s Critical to Upskill in 2021

  Why 2021 is a great time to upskill As a job-seeker, there’s one thing you can do to be valuable to employers and future-proof your own career: it’s having the most sought-after skills in your industry.   And 2021 is a great time to look at improving your skillset, if you need to. The…

 

Why 2021 is a great time to upskill

As a job-seeker, there’s one thing you can do to be valuable to employers and future-proof your own career: it’s having the most sought-after skills in your industry.
 
And 2021 is a great time to look at improving your skillset, if you need to. The world of work is shifting rapidly – not just because of changes from the pandemic, but because automation and AI are set to transform workplaces everywhere, especially in the next ten years.
 

What is upskilling?

Any training or learning that you invest in to improve your expertise and to stay relevant in your industry is upskilling or re-skilling. It might include short term training, online or face-to-face learning, webinars, workshops, seminars, university degrees, college diplomas or certificates. 
 
It might also include feedback sessions with mentors or employers, attending virtual conferences or networking events, volunteering, joining professional organisations relevant to your career and even just subscribing to newsletters and journals to stay abreast of industry news.
 

What skills do you need now?

Although it depends on the industry, there are similar post-pandemic trends happening across the board. Strong digital literacy is top of the list for most industries, though – including manufacturing, retail, clerical and food service. For example, if you’re in hospitality or retail, you’ll know that sanitation and social distancing are continuing to play a role in venues – but there’s also a shift towards digital and contactless technologies, too.
 
Customers are using apps more to order food, with 8.7 million Aussies using a delivery app compared to 4 million before the pandemic. And if you’re in retail, you’ll need to be able to do more than just put together a great point of sale display or deal efficiently with customers face-to-face. The rapid rise of online shopping means that retail workers may need more digital and ecommerce skills than they ever did before.
 

What skills will you need in the future?

 
It’s a great question. Research from McKinsey shows that 25-46 percent of current jobs in Australia may be automated by 2030, and that workers will spend over 60 percent more time using technological skills. And while some jobs will be replaced by AI or automation, other jobs will be created. So being nimble, adaptable and as skilled up as possible can only be a good thing in navigating the jobs market.
 
But it’s not all about the tech – and there are lots of ‘soft skills’ that companies prize in their employees, too – especially as what customers and consumers wants continues to shift. These include skills in leadership, problem-solving, relationship management, crisis management, innovative thinking, sustainability, cultural awareness and communication.
 

How and where can you upskill?

These days, the options for upskilling or re-skilling are endless. Here are just a few ideas for improving your skillset.
 
Depending on your industry, you might look into short courses with specialized certificates that help you stay ahead of trends in your industry. Other options include:
 
  • Doing a university course or looking into open learning
  • Taking a TAFE course or a digital course
  • Look at MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses)
  • Check out course platforms such as Coursera or Udemy
  • Explore Pluralsight, which is good for tech skills
  • Browse Masterclass, which has classes by famous chefs, actors or scientists
  • Search YouTube for short videos – it can be a great way to learn new skills
  • Talk to your employer about training and re-training opportunities
  • Follow industry leaders on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Watch TedTalks that are relevant to your industry
  • Ask for more challenges at work so you gain more experience / skills
  • Explore peer-to-peer learning, where you can learn skills from colleagues.
 

Conclusion

We hope that’s given you some inspiration and a few starting points for upskilling – or at the very least, looking at the skills you might need to work on.
 
Being open to learning and improving your skillset is arguably the best thing you can do for your career right now, and into the future. Good luck!