The main challenge for most individuals in today’s workforce is to strive for employment and survival. This is equally important as taking care of oneself to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. With many organizations needing to adapt to an uncertain economic landscape, it is evident that e-commerce, digital services, and remote work have experienced rapid growth. To drive organizations forward, it is crucial to prepare individuals to cope with new job demands in both domestic and international labor markets. Upskilling and reskilling, therefore, become vital in ensuring personal resilience during this era of digital disruption.
Definition of Upskill and Reskill:
Upskill refers to developing and improving existing skills to a higher level. Reskill refers to acquiring new skills necessary for work.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a new wave affecting the labor market. Overall job hiring has decreased, work hours have been reduced, and unemployment rates remain high due to both new job seekers and existing jobseekers unable to find new employment.
According to the labor situation report in the first quarter of 2021, there were 38.75 million individuals in the labor force. Among them, 37.58 million were employed, 0.76 million were unemployed, resulting in an unemployment rate of 2.0%. Additionally, 0.41 million individuals were not in the labor force. Compared to the previous quarter (Q4 2020), the number of employed individuals decreased by 710,000 (from 38.29 million to 37.58 million). As a result, the entire Thai workforce needs to reskill, with 50% requiring at least 3 months of skill development and the remaining 50% needing more than 3 months of skill development to align with the current job market demands.
The primary reasons for upskilling and reskilling include:
- Technological advancements that increasingly replace jobs: While technology may replace jobs in various sectors, humans are still required to control or work alongside Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. Many organizations are transitioning to cloud-based systems, which may be new to some individuals. Therefore, upskilling and reskilling are essential to enable efficient collaboration with AI and adapt to the growing usage of cloud-based systems.
- Work not aligned with one’s educational background: Organizations nowadays offer more diverse job positions, making it unnecessary for applicants to strictly match the specific field of study indicated. However, applicants must possess the necessary qualifications and capabilities to fulfill job responsibilities. Reskilling becomes important in acquiring new skills to meet job requirements. Even if individuals are working in their respective fields of study, a job change due to environmental conditions or economic systems may require additional skills. Continuously upskilling oneself allows for salary advancements.
Methods to facilitate Upskilling and Reskilling:
- Continuously learn through E-learning (for individuals): In today’s information-rich world, utilizing technology is crucial for upskilling and reskilling, as it helps broaden our knowledge base and better equip us for various job roles. Online courses, available in a wide range of topics, allow for continuous learning and comprehensive coverage of job-related skills.
- Develop learning programs and provide additional training (for organizations): Investing in employee development is equivalent to advancing the organization internally. Thus, organizations should organize training programs to foster a learning mindset among employees and continually enhance their skills. In addition to upskilling and reskilling initiatives, organizations should provide supplementary courses to further support each department’s development.
Essential skills that individuals should learn and possess to remain sought-after employees:
- Technological Skills: Skills related to decision-making when working with machinery or AI, as well as the ability to analyze big data.
- Language Skills: Strong language skills enable effective communication and collaboration with diverse individuals.
- Leadership Skills: Skills related to creativity, persuasion, teamwork, adaptability, time management, and resource allocation, both as a leader and a team member.
In conclusion, if you wish to thrive in this ever-changing economic landscape, both individuals and organizations must prioritize upskilling and reskilling. It is essential to embrace continuous learning, adapt to new knowledge, and make use of what we learn to create new opportunities. HumanOS provides assessment systems for Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and training systems to facilitate upskilling and reskilling.