Kate Braner, Author at General Assembly Blog

What is upskilling and what are the benefits?

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Digital transformation has created opportunities and challenges for corporate leaders. Ways of doing business have changed dramatically. Today, consumers want to engage and transact with brands digitally, which has led to massive investment in technology. Yet the workforce’s skills have not kept up at the same pace, leaving businesses playing catch up as they race to hire the right talent to meet consumers’ demand for modern experiences.

According to Statista, global investment in digital transformation is expected to nearly double from $1.8 trillion in 2022 to $2.8 trillion in 2025, which will only serve to widen this skills gap. As companies continue to struggle to find the right technical talent from external sources, they are increasingly turning to upskilling their existing workforces to fill needed roles.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling is when an employee learns new skills that enable them to advance in their career. For example, an individual contributor might learn data skills so they can be promoted into a management role. Upskilling shouldn’t be confused with reskilling, in which an employee learns new skills that enable them to transition into an entirely different role.

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How to Build a Successful Talent Development Strategy in 5 Easy Steps

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A successful talent development strategy is critical for businesses to remain competitive and bridge the skills gaps within their workforces. Today, the rapid pace of technology development and digital transformation has forced companies to be more nimble and creative with talent development. Gone are the days where learning and development consisted primarily of soft skills training, like people management and conflict resolution. Today, talent development teams must also ensure their workforce has the skills needed to compete in the digital economy. 

In the US alone, corporations spend nearly $180 billion annually on formal training programs. Yet, somehow, businesses still face a global talent shortage. Talent development programs can help address this by unleashing the full potential of a company’s existing workforce. 

This isn’t something businesses can think about in a silo. According to IBM, 120 million workers in the world’s largest economies may need to be retrained due to automation. If companies don’t plan for the future with innovative approaches to talent development, mass displacement of workers could occur—with serious economic ramifications. 

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