Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics are transforming the modern workplace. Upskilling helps professionals adapt to these changes and future-proof their careers in the rapidly evolving employment landscape.
Upskilling is when you learn new skills and tools to expand your professional capabilities and advance your career. This training offers significant personal and professional benefits. According to Gallup’s 2021 The American Upskilling Study(opens new window), workers who participated in upskilling programs increased their salary by an average of $8,000 (8.6%). Upskilling can also open new career opportunities(opens new window) in high-demand areas like data analysis, data engineering, and information technology.
Upskilling may sound intimidating, especially if you want to dive into a new niche. But this process doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You can use affordable and accessible resources to increase your knowledge and develop professional skills.
What we’ll cover
- What is upskilling?
- The benefits of upskilling
- Strategies to upskill in 2024
What is upskilling?
Upskilling refers to gaining new abilities or strengthening existing ones to keep up with the changing demands of your profession. This proactive approach often involves acquiring advanced skills and learning new technologies.
Upskilling is a relatively new term for an old concept. People have always needed to learn critical skills to keep pace with technological advancements. This process is also universal across age groups, industries, and positions. Every professional must develop their skills throughout their career to stay relevant and take on new responsibilities.
You can upskill through formal or informal educational and training opportunities. Many companies offer seminars and workshops to help employees learn new skills. You can also expand your abilities independently. For example, you could pursue an advanced certification in data analytics or join a course to learn a new platform.
Why is upskilling important?
Recent economic and technological trends have made upskilling more critical than ever. Here are a few compelling reasons individuals and employers invest in additional education and training.
Align your skills with your career goals
Industries evolve quickly, so your existing skills may not match your career aspirations. According to a 2023 study by the National Skills Coalition(opens new window), many professionals lack the technical proficiency needed to advance their careers. 92% of jobs across industries require digital skills, but almost one-third of American workers lack basic digital literacy.
Upskilling ensures that you have the abilities needed to achieve your professional goals. You can identify necessary skills by studying job postings and the resumes of people with your dream job. This knowledge allows you to detect and fill skill gaps so you’re prepared to advance your career.
Future-proof your career
The emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI) has motivated many professionals to increase their job security. According to a 2023 report by Goldman Sachs(opens new window), this technology could automate approximately 300 million full-time jobs worldwide. The investment firm also predicts that around two-thirds of American jobs could be partially automated by AI.
These statistics sound scary, but widespread automation likely won’t cause mass layoffs. Instead, this advancement could lead to new career opportunities and responsibilities in tech, healthcare, finance, and other industries.
Upskilling helps you future-proof your career from the impact of AI, automation, and other developments. You can learn how to leverage cutting-edge technologies like AI to boost your productivity and solve challenges in the workplace. Keeping your skills up-to-date can also help you position yourself for new career opportunities–including jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
Learn next-generation skills
Many employers are struggling to find skilled candidates with technical skills. According to recent studies(opens new window), there is a global shortage of 3.4 million cybersecurity specialists, and many employers in industries like tech and finance cannot find enough talent to fill job openings. However, there is a silver lining: many employers plan to upskill and reskill their employees to help.
According to the ManpowerGroup study(opens new window), 71% of employers plan to address talent shortages by upskilling and reskilling their current employees. The study found that the most in-demand soft and technical skills include
- Reliability and self-discipline
- Information technology and data
- Creativity and originality
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Sales and marketing
Upskilling enables you to expand your skill set and helps bridge talent gaps. Developing next-generation abilities could allow you to contribute meaningfully to your current organization. Or you can use your training to seek new–and potentially higher-paying–career opportunities elsewhere.
Benefits of upskilling
According to Gallup, 57% of U.S. workers are extremely or very interested in participating in an upskilling program. Additionally, 71% of employees stated they would be extremely or very interested in paid upskilling opportunities.
These findings suggest that professionals have become increasingly aware of the benefits of additional training. Here are a few advantages of upgrading your skills.
Increase your income
Upskilling is one of the most effective ways to boost your income. You can use your newfound expertise to request a raise at your current job or apply for more lucrative positions. This strategy may lead to major financial rewards, especially if you learn highly desirable skills.
The 2021 Data/AI Salary Survey conducted by O'Reilly reveals that dedicating more than 100 hours to training programs can result in an average salary boost of $11,000 for professionals in these fields. Even those who spent only 1 to 19 hours in training programs still experienced an average salary increase of $7,100.
These figures are supported by Gallup's findings that their current employer promoted 39% of workers after upskilling, while 30% found new, higher-paying jobs. The positive impact of upskilling on an individual's standard of living is clear, with 65% of respondents reporting an improvement in their quality of life. It is evident that Investing time and effort into upskilling can yield significant returns, not only in terms of salary but also in terms of career progression and personal growth.
Mold your career to your interests
Expanding your skills can be an excellent way to take charge of your career and align your daily responsibilities with your interests. As a data analyst, you can focus your training on the aspects of the industry that you find most fascinating. Suppose you enjoy working with data visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI. In that case, developing your proficiency in these programs can enhance your skills and prepare you for a more specialized role in the field.
Upskilling can empower you to take greater control over your career. According to Gallup, 66% of upskilled employers had the power to change aspects of their jobs that dissatisfied them, while only 42% of non-participants did. Upskilling can give you more leverage for your work goals and align with your interests.
Boost job satisfaction
Learning new skills can prevent you from feeling bored or stagnant at work and help you feel like your employer values your professional development. These benefits can positively influence your mental health and overall job satisfaction.
The Gallup survey found that 71% of upskilling participants felt more satisfied with their careers after upskilling. Additionally, 78% of respondents had a sense of purpose at work, compared to 65% of people who didn’t upskill. People who enjoy their jobs feel more enthusiastic and motivated, leading to greater personal enrichment.
How to Upskill in 2024
Upskilling lets you control your career trajectory and unlock new opportunities. Here are five ways to develop new expertise and level up your skills.
Pick a goal
Begin your upskilling journey by establishing clear and specific objectives. Common upskilling goals include:
- Secure a specialized job in your field
- Get promoted to a leadership role
- Increase your salary
- Acquire in-demand skills in your industry
- Learn a new technology
This step may sound obvious, but many people overlook it in their excitement to upskill. Without clear objectives, you may go down a rabbit hole and gain abilities that don’t align with your personal or professional ambitions. Setting goals will help you stay on track and make the most of your upskilling experience.
Research jobs of interest to you
Develop an upskilling plan by researching career paths that interest you. LinkedIn allows you to explore the professional profiles of people with intriguing titles and roles. Many professionals post vlogs about their daily work routines and responsibilities on TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
Once you’ve identified positions of interest, browse relevant job postings to research educational and skills requirements. Look for certifications, advanced skills, and technical proficiencies you may need. This information allows you to develop an upskilling plan tailored to your professional goals.
Find a mentor
An experienced mentor in your current or desired field can help you focus your upskilling efforts. They can guide you on which skills and tools to prioritize to accelerate your career development. A mentor can also keep you accountable and motivate you to continue upskilling, even in the face of challenges.
Finding the right mentor requires patience, time, and often a little luck. Strategies to identify potential advisers include:
- Explore online mentoring platforms, such as GrowthMentor and ADPList
- Join professional associations in your industry and attend networking events
- Connect with professionals on social media
- Ask for recommendations from trusted colleagues
- Reach out to alumni from your school or apprenticeship program
- Invite professionals in your field out for coffee
Once you’ve identified a mentor, you can develop a positive relationship by setting clear expectations and goals for your interaction. For example, you might ask your mentor to help you create an upskilling plan and give them regular progress reports. They may also recommend resources to help you master new skills.
As you gain new abilities, you can practice applying them by creating projects. Showcase your coding abilities by developing a mobile app or demonstrate your proficiency in data analytics by developing a predictive model. These projects enable you to gain hands-on experience and give you tangible examples to discuss during interviews.
Browsing professional portfolios can give you inspiration for your own projects. Many people post samples of their work on their professional websites or social media accounts. You can also offer your services on freelancing platforms like Fiverr.
Upskill at no cost with Multiverse without quitting your job
Future-proof your career with Multiverse’s upskilling program. This program provides a structured curriculum and personalized coaching to help you achieve your unique career goals. You’ll develop versatile and transferable skills that enable you to adapt to changes in your industry.
Unlike other programs, the upskilling certification has no opportunity costs. Our on-the-job training program is designed to fit the schedules of busy working professionals so you can keep working full-time while you learn. It’s also totally free with no strings attached.
Start your upskilling journey today
There’s never been a better time to upskill for the future. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing are reshaping industries and driving innovation. Learning how to use these cutting-edge tools can help you keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape and advance your career.
Multiverse’s upskilling certification is the ideal way to upgrade your toolkit without sacrificing your current career. We offer training in critical skills like advanced analytics and strategic analytics. Our programs will help you enhance efficiency, gain marketable skills, and save money. Get in touch today to learn more.