Nitin Thakur is Co-Founder and Managing Director, GenLeap. Nitin is a pragmatic, astute and inspiring individual, lauded by others for his servant leadership, authenticity and common sensical viewpoints. His 25 years of professional journey spanning across the likes of GE, Barclays, Aegis BPO, UnitedHealth Group, has left a trail of his innate and effortless ability to help others be their best version. Nitin’s key functional expertise rests in driving change agenda, developing frameworks and driving Talent Management. At GenLeap, Nitin has leveraged his passion and experience in creating a cutting-edge ecosystem; that is India’s first DNA based self-discovery, upskilling and employability platform. He is instrumental in creating multitude of sub frameworks and developing the IP material that fuel’s the platform’s propensity to provide profound insights, achieved through a unique triangulation of Genetic decoding, Psychology, and Cognitive Astromancy. At GenLeap, Nitin, and his team, are on a mission to guide an individual, who may be a kindergartener, college-goer, first-time job seeker, experienced professional, or someone exploring ‘sunset choices’ – to be one’s best version in a fulfilling manner.
We are at the precipice of transformation at every turn in today’s day and age, not least after a pandemic that has accelerated us to the future with unprecedented celerity. Not just that, the future of this new world order remains uncertain and with it, the conversations around it rampant as well as critical. What technologies are we yet to meet and soon won’t be able to live without? Are we future-ready and agile enough to manage disruptions? As workforce dynamics evolve at a pace we have never experienced, we must stop and ask – Is our approach to work and workforce transformation sustainable? How can I ensure a unique value proposition that is aligned with the expectations of the market and the employer – of the present as well as the future?
It might not come as a surprise to many but 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet according to the Institute for the Future. LinkedIn recently revealed an increase in new job positions such as ‘Director of Hybrid Working’, something we never imagined to gain as much prominence as it does now. Technology advancements have warranted skills in areas such as Mixed Reality (MR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other new-age fields that were seen as a nascent but are now fully integrated in business sequences. The skills required in the jobs of the future will be vastly different. The next decade will witness tremendous changes in the employment landscape as new technologies will make old ones redundant and along with it, a huge section of the workforce. The bright side to this is that it has forced us to re-think our collective and individual responsibilities to one another, to the institutions we work for or want to work for, and to the communities and environment we live in. It has brought to the fore a question that we need to constantly ask ourselves – Are we re-calibrating and re-building our personal repository of skills to remain relevant to employers and catch up with the evolving job market at all times?
Is Upskilling really the formula for a successful career?
Irrespective of our relative parameters and definition of success, the need for consistent upskilling remains paramount, both professionally and personally. Whether you have decided to take a break from work, or are currently employed, investing in skills to ensure you are more ‘marketable’ and a value proposition for an employer will be the biggest aid to land a dream job or advance in your career. The economic turmoil due to Covid-19 especially, led to the need to re-adapt, shift priorities and hence called for upskilling and reskilling. The trend of micro-credentials and upskilling boot camps fast gained momentum and even companies made huge investments to ensure their employees had the ‘skills of the future’. Adding new proficiencies or bolstering existing skills makes your profile ‘disruption-proof ‘and significantly enhances your value and marketability.
Upskilling, however important, is only one side of the equation. For a comprehensive assessment of your growth possibilities as well as the anticipated roadblocks to your success, a strategic, multi-thronged approach must be adopted, taking into consideration not just your own skills, but the employment market, employer expectations and the future opportunities. This gains all the more prominence in the post-Covid era. A career path which takes into consideration the overlap of your skills and the dynamics of the employment market will ensure you gain an optimal advantage over your peers and a higher chance of success. And this is where reskilling also comes into the picture.
What does it mean to Reskill vs Upskill?
You learn new skills when you upskill. When you reskill, you learn a skill with which you can take up a completely different job. It can helps you change your career trajectory based on the evolution of the ecosystem and the requirements of the future workplaces. Reskilling provides a lateral learning experience as organizations lean towards people with adjacent skill sets to the newer skills that a company requires as it evolves and as the ecosystem, existing technologies and workplace dynamics change.
Both upskilling and reskilling are effective strategies, particularly for employers, to combat what is expected to become a perennial skills shortage.
So, what should be your strategy as an individual?
Start with asking yourselves critical questions – What skills are in demand in your sector? What skills would be beneficial to your career and what are the courses you can pursue to gain them? Is your career evolving with the times or will it be redundant in the future? If yes, are you committed to train to change career paths? The answers to these will help you first identify if it is the time for you to upskill or reskill and further how to go about it. Skill-building in any capacity in a dynamic employment ecosystem will always prove to give you an edge in the market. Investing in in-demand skills will get you through an economic upheaval, technological shifts and changing employer behaviours. Think advanced cybersecurity, in a time when everything has and will continue to go digital. Even in times laced with certainty, skill shortage is a perennial reality. India has long faced the crisis of employability. Upskilling and reskilling will ensure an uptick in your employment potential. In fact, India, according to a report by WEF (World Economic Forum) has the second-highest additional employment potential through upskilling. It could add 2.3 million jobs by 2030, second only to the US’s 2.7 million jobs.
To invest in upskilling or reskilling would mean to future-proof your career as you always are in alignment with the needs of the present as well as the future. Disruption in how we work, communicate and essentially live, have forced integration of these two approaches in the new work deal. Also, a supportive policy ecosystem with the Indian Government’s focus on skill and employability as evident from the Union Budget 2022-23, provides a much required push to this agenda. The added emphasis of skilling in alignment with the dynamic industry requirements is clearly the need of the hour.
As employees look ahead, we see a clear shift in perception of skilling— from a valued opportunity to an essential step in remaining employable. As the reality of new technologies sink in and we witness the economic aftermath of the pandemic, an integrated skilling approach keeping in mind the individual and the ecosystem will determine the employee’s worth and become paramount to success and sustained growth.