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Up until a few years ago, obtaining your undergraduate degree was a pass to the vast world of employment. Unfortunately, a higher education certificate might not take you that far nowadays.

Upskilling has become a buzzword in today’s job ecosystem. Both employees and employers have begun looking at ways to maximize the available opportunities and minimize skills gaps. The world of work is changing at the speed of light, and you need to be able to adapt to it, or otherwise you’ll fall behind. Here is how to stay on top of your game at all times with upskilling.

Why should upskilling enter your vocabulary now?

Upskilling has always been integral to workers. But just like the world of work has changed, especially amidst the pandemic, the necessity of upskilling has changed too. While the half-life of professional skills was once 10-15 years, it’s now been shortened to five years. For technical skills, this can be even shorter. This means that workers must constantly update their skills to stay relevant.

According to the ILO Global Commission of the Future of Work, “Today’s skills won’t match the jobs of tomorrow, and newly acquired skills may quickly become obsolete.” Things like technological advancements, climate change, globalization and Covid-19 are dictating changes in the workplace and the need for upskilling.

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Automation calls for new technical skills

The question of robots replacing humans in the workplace has been pressing for a long time. The 2013 movie Her imagined a future where robots have replaced not only human labor but also human romance. It seems that the line between sci-fi and reality is becoming more and more blurred. According to experts at Fortune magazine, “40% of the world’s jobs will be replaced by robots capable of automating tasks.” Around 1.5 million jobs in England are at risk of being automated in the future, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This means that human labor won’t be needed. Such jobs include elementary occupations, as well as process, plant and machine operatives.

As worrying as this sounds, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We must adapt to technological innovations, and this calls for continuous learning. Digital literacy, numeracy, creativity and innovative thinking must improve continuously to keep up.

Globalization, Brexit, and Covid-19: How are jobs shifting shape?

It’s fair to say that most job sectors are shifting and so is the workforce demand. Globalized businesses are making way for both high-skilled and low-skilled jobs. However, medium-skilled jobs are being left behind. The job polarization is due to the increased labor-intensive production, liberalization of trade and international transportation and communication. Workplaces within leading economies are looking for highly skilled people who are ready to operate on a global level. Conversely, they are also looking for cheaper low-skilled laborers.

However, both Brexit and Covid-19 have had an immense impact on disruptions to supply chains and trade. The UK is facing a workforce shortage, and Brexit has only worsened the situation. Those who thrive in this changing socio-economic environment will have transferable skills. These skills can be adapted and applied to different occupations and skills.

You might be wondering if your own job is at stake. While many businesses are set to recover from Brexit and the pandemic, others might remain in the shadows. That’s why it’s more critical now than ever to upgrade your core skills. It’s also important to upgrade your more alternative skills that are useful as a backup plan. For example, you can learn to become a ski instructor, a reiki healer or an English language teacher. Obtaining such qualifications will make you an even more desired candidate. They will show employers that you are willing to adapt to new environments and learn new skills.

The world is changing faster than ever with a lot of socio-economic factors at play. In order to adapt to the new world of work, employees are being urged to upskill their abilities and implement innovative thinking. In turn, this will drive both the economy and their personal development forward.

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