Why upskilling opportunities should be at the top of every job seekers list

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The tech sector is in the throes of a so-called “double disruption,” dealing with the economic fallout of a two-year pandemic and wrestling with the swift advance of AI at the same time.

What it means for workers is simple: half of us will need to re-skill in the next five years, according to the World Economic Forum.

That isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Upskilling is a core practice in a dynamic jobs market, and many employers are advertising in-house skills programmes as part of their employee incentive packages. The penny has dropped: keeping the best talent in the age of AI means helping them to self-improve.

Employee training to increase retention is preferable in the long term to worker turnover and costly recruitment drives. Getting paid to be better at your job, while on the job, is now up there with share options, remote working, and diversity policies, as far as talent is concerned.

Upskilling to take on AI

Artificial intelligence, of course, has thrown down a gauntlet at workers and their employers. In March, research by Goldman Sachs predicted that generative AI had the power to replace up to 300 million jobs.

While advanced automation has been downsizing a large number of tech roles, it has also increased the need for skills the machines just can’t handle. By 2025, according to the WEF’s Future of Jobs report, there will have been a massive shift in the division of labour between humans and machines.

Recent efforts by Ikea to balance its workforce with AI are proof that upskilling can help in the division of labour conundrum. It’s handing off most of its routine customer service queries to Billie — an AI bot named after its best-selling bookcase — freeing up its human workers to focus on soft skills and creative work, such as remote interior design advice. The company claims that thus far, AI hasn’t reduced its employee headcount.

Pave your new career path

The path to upskilling is varied, and there’s plenty of choice. Some global firms have dedicated in-house upskilling services, while others will also pay workers to source outside help with learning.

Not all learning and development is formal. Informal, unaccredited courses are numerous (many of them app-based) and can upgrade the value of your contribution from good to great. While these are easy to access, they largely involve a degree of self-assessment.

Workers in highly specific roles will be more attracted to learning opportunities with measurable milestones and manager feedback. This puts the onus on firms to listen to their workers and produce programmes that meet their needs and promise to support them, even if it leads to a career segue. Training with no end in sight does little for employee retention.

Where to focus your learning efforts

Finding an employer willing to invest in your professional development is one thing; choosing the area in which to expand your skill set is another. The WEF’s jobs report has identified its top 10 work skills of tomorrow, while the employee development firm Zavvy has collated a broader, more comprehensive list of the top-trending skills in Europe.

Python, machine learning, and data management are up there, as these are skills that marry well with AI. In business, softer competencies such as human resources and leadership are also sought after, while in tech, there’s a renewed focus on user experience as well as design and product.

In the near future, the ideal tech job candidate will not only have technical skills, but equally strong soft skills, and a healthy growth mindset. Critical thinking and problem-solving will be considered premium human skills.

Ready to find an employer with excellent retraining and upskilling programmes? The House of Talent Job Board has thousands of openings in companies that offer extensive learning and development opportunities, like the three below.

Production Engineer (SRE), Third Republic, UK/remote

At Third Republic, the Senior DevOps Engineer is an expert not only in software engineering but also SRE, Cloud, CI/CD and system design. Improving efficiency and striving for operational excellence will be your core goals, and ensuring your team follows the best practices in deployment, monitoring, availability and service performance. Among a host of employee incentives, Third Republic runs its own up/cross-skilling bootcamp. Apply for this opportunity, which is fully remote, at House of Talent Jobs.

Senior Technical Program Manager/Scrum Master, Mastercard, Dublin

The Senior Technical Program Manager (Scrum Master) at Mastercard works closely with product owners, solution architects, and development teams to deliver results for the company’s fraud prevention platform. You’ll organise the processes that lead to the building of industry-leading fraud-fighting solutions and should be skilled in Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Agile Scrum and XP principles, with soft skills to match. Building a trusting, collaborative, and transparent environment for the team will be as important as your tech skills. And if career progression is your objective, employees are encouraged to feed their curiosity through industry-leading content from Mastercard’s Learning Academies and open new doors on Unlocked, an opportunity to make an impact and form mentorships. Apply for this unique role now at the House of Talent Jobs board.

Lead SAP Developer for Industry X Accenture, Dresden

Included in Accenture’s portfolio of employee incentives is access to comprehensive further training for soft skills as well as upskilling to match the latest technology demands. The company is now hiring a Lead SAP Developer for automatic warehouse systems as part of a team that specialises in SAP production and logistics. Solution architecture will be your focus, and you’ll guide a team of developers based in Dresden to ensure excellent quality assurance. You should be a great communicator in both German and English, as well as an expert in SAP/EWM. Apply for this role now at House of Talent Jobs.

Don’t settle for skill stagnation. Futureproof your career with an employer who will invest in your skillset now