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Upskill Yourself To Retain Your Job

Adding up skills to the portfolio can prove to be a personal as well as professional boost

Photo Credit : Reuters


We've addressed this time and again - with automation disrupting industries, jobs are at risk. In the years to come, around 50% of professionals will be irrelevant. The rapidly changing technology landscape and machines replacing manual labor, lower skilled jobs are assumed to be at risk. However, this will also create several blue-collar jobs that will require employees to be highly skilled.

In an early report published about the impact of automation and digital transformation, Deloitte revealed how around 80,000 lower skilled jobs were removed during last 15 years in UK. However, it also highlighted how the same impact created 3.5 million new highly skilled job opportunities for professionals.

Inference? Even though machines are likely to take over manual processes, there still be need of highly skill professionals who can run these machines and mine and analyze data. Thus, to survive the disruption, we need professionals who're trained in skills like automation, Big Data, cloud computing, robotics, and machine learning.

Organizations are already making efforts to re-skill their employees
Disruption is affecting majority of industries. And all these industries are making efforts to deal with the challenges created by the change by upskilling their employees and making them future ready.

Ernst and Young recently published the Global Banking Outlook report, 2017 that talked about reforming abilities of the employees. According to this report, banks are making efforts to make their employees more efficient to meet the requirements for which judgment, flexibility, and common sense are essential. Besides, to leverage technology better, about 39% of banks have already partnered with industry disrupters and Fintech companies.

A substantial change has been observed recently in Indian Banking Industry due to the Digital India Program. Equipping with unique digital infrastructure has become essential for all banks, which has led to tremendous change in the industry. Now, bank employees are needed to be more efficient so that they can ensure customer satisfaction.

This is one of the few industries that have witnessed early impacts of digital disruption. Today, it has become essential that the workforce is up-skilled to work in sync with an automated infrastructure. However, only tech skills are not enough for professionals; they need to learn new skills like collaboration, communication, creativity, data visualization, and critical thinking. These skills will hold greater importance moving forward.

And all major industry players understand this. Wipro, for instance, is making efforts to up-skill its employees for latest technology like immersive AR/VR, block-chain, artificial intelligence and digital analysis.

As advanced technology becomes affordable and miniaturized, devices, vehicles, people and things are more connected than ever. And the impact of this is clearly visible in the travel industry. Companies are looking to transform the traveler experience by weaving together data and people. Intelligent automation (e.g. robotics, 3D printing, AI and IoT) is enabling high-quality services and products with a lower environmental footprint and reduced costs. However, this transformation demands new skills from the workers and is creating new jobs. As per a world economic forum report, there will be a possible reduction of up to 780,000 traditional jobs in today's industry. However, at the same time, this tech upgradation will add around 192,000 jobs for hotels, 35,000 jobs for airlines and 103,000 jobs for airport retail over the next 10 years.

However, this isn't enough.

While organizations create processes and deliver programs to make their employees future-ready, not much can be done until professionals take the onus. It's important for them to take things in their own hands to ensure that they can survive the wave of transformation. However, this is not it. Here are some other reasons that make upskilling themselves mandatory for employees.

Become more valuable - People who upskill themselves are likely to be more productive, have better problem solving skills, and perform better overall. Learning new skills enables employees to be more useful to their business and contribute to the overall vision. This makes them a great candidate fit for promotions or switching smoothly to more comprehensive roles in the workplace.

Future ready your career - In times when no industry is secure from digital disruption, it only makes sense for employees to add digital and cognitive skills to their skill set. If they develop soft skills like leadership, creative skills, critical thinking, emotional intelligence etc., it will be helpful in reducing the risk of losing jobs.

Attract better opportunities - New skill set means new opportunities. This is especially true in this age of transformation where new jobs roles are coming up in each industry. Investing in learning skills like data analysis, automation, robotics etc. can help employees take up new work opportunities.

After the why, comes in the how. Now that we understand the idea of upskilling one self, let's see how employees can add to their existing skill set and become future-ready.

Online courses
There are different online courses through which professionals can learn new skills online while doing their jobs. Many e-learning platforms have introduced courses in new age technologies like robotics, cloud computing, big data, and automation. For Instance, a multi-modal learning platform by NIIT, offers top tier certifications in AI, machine learning, business analytics, selenium, digital marketing, big data, management, and finance, led by industry experts and mentors. What's more - these courses, are conducted online by trained instructors, and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. This ensures professionals can learn at their own pace without hampering their work.  

Taking up new projects
Doing new things helps you develop new skills. So, whenever an opportunity presents itself, professionals should take up new and challenging projects. Stepping out of the comfort zone is the key. They should try and attend different industry conferences and seminars. This may help them learn about modern technologies from industry leaders as well as fellow professionals.

Part-time opportunities
In case there aren't enough opportunities to experiment and learn within the organization, professionals can work on part time projects in their free time. These projects may or may open up an additional revenue stream, but they'll definitely help them acquire new skills and expand their knowledge horizon.

Adding up skills to the portfolio can prove to be a personal as well as professional boost. While it opens up numerous career opportunities, it also ensures that professionals stay atop trends as individuals. However, this is only possible if professionals take up the onus of upskilling themselves and experimenting with new skill sets.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Prakash Menon

The author is President, Global Retail Business, NIIT Ltd

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