Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions
The term reskilling refers to the acquisition of new work-related skills by employees in a company to be able to perform an existing activity in a different way or to take up a completely new activity (retraining).
Reskilling and the concept of retraining deal with the acquisition of new skills and fall under the area of further education. But then, what is the difference with upskilling?
Let’s break it down for you:
Reskilling, or retraining, is the process of learning a completely new set of skills (mainly hard skills) that enable workers to take up a completely new occupation. That’s why it is a much more radical step than just training, which usually lasts only a few weeks or months.
It is a more compact form of vocational training aimed at unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled adults with several years of experience within their previous occupation. Retraining is intended to ensure that people can maintain themselves in the labour market in the future.
Unlike initial vocational training for most young people, however, retraining generally lasts only 2 to 2.5 years (shortening the regular training period by about 1/3).
A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute in 2021 found that by 2030 about 2.7 million employees in the UK will have to change their occupation completely (i.e. retrain) due to shifts in the labour market.
There are many different retraining options for employees. For example, the way of reskilling can be:
Retraining can be completed part-time or full-time. It can be in the form of evening courses, online courses, or coaching and also with or without a final examination. In addition, a higher-education diploma or certificate can be obtained.
Depending on the vocational situation of the retrainee and the chosen retraining measure (school-based or inter-company), financial support is possible through the Employment Agency or the responsible job centre (unemployment benefit, transitional allowance, child benefit), but also through health or pension insurance providers (maintenance allowance).
Reskilling makes sense, for example, when employees realise that their current occupation has no future for their working life. The reason for this can, but does not necessarily have to be, changes in the labour market.
These reasons can make a retraining measure necessary:
Similarly, retraining can be motivated by an employee's desire for professional change. People change all the time and so do their expectations of their job and everyday working life.
This can ultimately lead to a situation where a job that has been held for a long time no longer suits the person, their values, and their convictions. Often this change takes place at the age of between 30–50.
Reskilling is a human resource management tool that plays an important role in securing skilled labour and maintaining employment within a company. But it is also important for the preservation of the company itself.
If a company does not invest in the future of its employees, they feel left alone and employee retention suffers as a result. For the time being, this may only result in slight fluctuations in personnel, but this can have a far-reaching effect and have a very negative impact on the employer image in the near future.
Incidentally, a large proportion of job seekers already rely on reviews on portals such as Glassdoor when it comes to applying to a company—and more will do so in the future.
A rather poor overall image can ensure that applications are not received at all and vacant positions can consequently no longer be filled (employee attrition).
If the remaining team members have to absorb the work, overwork and further layoffs are inevitable and the future of the company is seriously threatened.
Are you looking for more information on the topic of up- and reskilling? Then you might like these blog articles:
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What are soft skills and why are they so important in recruiting? Find the soft skills definition and a few essential examples, here.
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