Upskilling vs reskilling—what’s the difference?

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Contents

  1. What is upskilling?
  2. What is reskilling?
  3. The benefits of reskilling or upskilling for employees
  4. Best ways to upskill or reskill in 2023
  5. Upskill for free with Multiverse without quitting your job

Upskilling vs reskilling—what’s the difference?

Today’s employment landscape looks much different than it did five years ago. Artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cybersecurity, and other cutting-edge technologies are reshaping many industries. Employers want workers with strong technical abilities to help them leverage these tools, but many professionals don’t have the required expertise.

Reskilling and upskilling can help you fill this skill gap and prepare for today's and tomorrow's jobs. This guide explores the differences between upskilling and reskilling, their benefits, and the best ways to get started.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling means expanding and advancing your existing abilities, credentials, and knowledge to stay competitive and relevant in the workplace. This process often involves learning about your field's latest technological advancements and trends. Upskillers come from all ages, career paths, and industries.

Say, for instance, you’re a Junior Cloud Engineer. You could build on your knowledge of cloud security by learning how to use vulnerability assessment tools and cloud forensics techniques. These skills could help you pursue a specialized career as a Cloud Security Engineer or Cloud Compliance Specialist.

What is reskilling?

Reskilling means gaining brand-new abilities and knowledge unrelated to your current skill set. People often reskill when they want to transition to a new career or take on new responsibilities at their current company. Like upskillers, reskillers come from all backgrounds, career stages, and industries.

For example, a Public Relations Specialist could reskill by learning data analytics, programming languages like Python and R, and data visualization. These skills could enable them to start a new–and potentially higher-paying–career as a Data Scientist.

The benefits of reskilling or upskilling for employees

Reskilling or upskilling offers numerous professional and personal advantages, including:

Increased salary and responsibilities

Reskilling or upskilling often leads to substantial career growth. According to Gallup’s The American Upskilling Study(opens new window), 75% of workers who participated in an upskilling program advanced their careers. 39% of respondents received a promotion or pay increase at their current employer, while 20% used their new skills to change careers or industries.

Upskilling or reskilling is one of the fastest ways to boost your earning potential. The Gallup poll found that upskillers earned an average of $8,000 more annually than non-upskillers. Reskillers can also substantially increase their salary by pursuing the highest-paying careers in tech and other industries.

More future-proof career

A 2023 Bankrate survey(opens new window) shows that 33% of American workers feel anxious about their job security. Reskilling or upskilling addresses these concerns and future-proofs your career by ensuring you remain a valuable asset to employers.

Stay competitive by gaining in-demand skills and bringing innovative approaches to your role. For example, marketers can learn to use big data analytics to predict consumer behavior and develop more effective marketing campaigns.

Fewer education gaps

Upskilling and reskilling allow you to develop your expertise without investing money and time into a college education. This process can open the door to new career opportunities you might not otherwise receive. For instance, you can use free online courses to learn programming languages instead of earning a computer science degree.

Enhanced productivity and problem-solving

Develop new and more efficient ways to complete tasks by upskilling and reskilling. For example, machine learning techniques can help you automate routine processes, while data analytics speeds up decision-making. Upskilling and reskilling can also improve your problem-solving skills by teaching you new approaches to tackle challenges.

Better work-life balance

Expanding your technical skills can unlock desirable career opportunities in tech companies. Many of these firms have great benefits that promote work-life balance. For example, tech employers often offer flexible schedules and unlimited paid time off. These perks can increase your overall job satisfaction and well-being.

Increased confidence in the workplace

You'll build confidence in your abilities as you gain new knowledge and skills. You’ll also feel more capable of handling challenges and setbacks in the workplace. As a result, your employer may give you more leadership responsibilities, paving the way for career advancement. You can also use your new expertise to promote positive change and innovation at your company. For instance, you can encourage your team to try new tools, processes, and workflows.

Best ways to upskill or reskill in 2023

Learning advanced skills or breaking into a new field can feel daunting, but upskilling or reskilling doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are the top three ways to continue your educational journey.

Take courses with platforms like Coursera

Platforms like Coursera and edX offer online courses on a broad range of skills, from bookkeeping to UX design. These classes are typically self-paced, allowing you to complete them on your schedule.

However, this option has several drawbacks. You may need to pay for online courses if your company doesn’t provide professional development funds. These classes also tend to focus on theory instead of job-ready skills and don’t provide support from industry experts.

Take a full-time or part-time boot camp

Boot camps provide a crash course in practical skills like data analytics and web development. These programs allow you to build a portfolio of projects quickly and may offer networking opportunities. However, they can be expensive, and the intensive nature of full-time boot camps means you may need to put your career on pause. It’s also critical to research alumni outcomes because some boot camps have low placement rates.

Pursue an on-the-job apprenticeship

An on-the-job apprenticeship allows you to develop new skills while staying with your current employer. You can gain hands-on skills under the guidance of experienced mentors and take on new responsibilities as your abilities grow. This opportunity is often free and can fast-track your career advancement.

Upskill for free with Multiverse without quitting your job

Future-proof your career and develop transferable skills with Multiverse’s upskilling apprenticeship.

With a Multiverse apprenticeship program, you can upskill or reskill on the job for free. Our programs emphasize applied learning, so you won't be stuck in a classroom wondering how the material translates to real-world contexts. You'll get paid to learn and use your new abilities in your day-to-day role.


Our programs are tailored to provide you with durable, in-demand skills—setting you up for success now and in the future. Plus, you'll learn from experienced professionals who’ve been where you are.

Start your upskilling journey by completing our fast and simple application(opens new window).


Team Multiverse

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Team Multiverse

21 November 2023