Why Upskilling is Essential in 2024: 16 Insights from Experts

Thursday, June 13, 2024
Puzzle pieces with the words upskilling, skills and reskilling.

In the fast-evolving workplace of 2024, CEOs and business leaders weigh in on why upskilling and reskilling are more crucial than ever, offering their top 16 strategies. From harnessing AI-powered courses to implementing mentor-based upskilling programs, our experts provide invaluable insights for workers and leaders aiming to stay competitive and adaptable. Here's a glimpse into their collective wisdom, beginning with the importance of upgrading skills and culminating in the call for a wider learning scope.

  • Upgrade Skills with AI-Powered Courses
  • Stand Out with Constant Development
  • Learn During Work, Not After
  • Leverage Online Learning Platforms
  • Develop Irreplaceable Specific Knowledge
  • Adopt a Proactive Growth Mindset
  • Model Continuous Learning After Doctors
  • Stay Relevant with Self-Awareness 
  • Utilize Industry-Specific Online Platforms
  • Remain Competitive with Affordable Online Courses
  • Integrate New Tech with Micro-Learning
  • Enhance Communication Skills for All Fields
  • Invest in Adaptability Vs. Specific Skill Sets
  • Acquire Skills via Micro-Credentialing Programs
  • Broaden Perspective Beyond AI
  • Implement Mentor-Based Upskilling Programs


Upgrade Skills with AI-Powered Courses

In 2024, upskilling and reskilling are crucial—it's like upgrading your brain's software to avoid becoming a technological dinosaur. But you don't have to slog through dry textbooks or endure PowerPoint presentations that would put a sloth to sleep. 

There are amazing AI-powered video course creators out there. Think of them as Hollywood for learning, turning complex topics into interactive, engaging, bite-sized chunks. Plus, the content is easy to update, so you won't be stuck explaining how to use a floppy disk when everyone's rocking cloud storage.

Daria Globchak, Generative AI Expert, Elai.io


Stand Out with Constant Development

As a recruiter, I know candidates sometimes resent the pressure to upskill between roles. However, a brief history of the hiring market tends to put it into perspective. The average worker is aware that the internet has changed sourcing strategies, but a telling exercise is to imagine job hunting in the days prior. Back then (and I'm old enough to remember), you'd place an ad in the local newspapers. If it was a high-enough position, it would also be advertised in trade publications. The rest was personal networking.

Maybe a couple dozen applications would come in.

Nowadays, it's not uncommon for me to field a thousand applications or more for a single position. That means standing out as a candidate requires constant development. If you're not upskilling, you'll never be chosen in a sea of similarly trained workers.

But the flip side of this, and a fact that's good to keep in mind, is that you are also not limited to a few job applications. Apply well and widely with your updated resume, and you'll likely wind up with a better job than your predecessor could have dreamt of.

Linn Atiyeh, CEO, Bemana


Learn During Work, Not After

As the head of a recruiting firm, my advice for professionals looking to upskill or reskill is to focus on learning and growing during your workday rather than exhausting yourself in your off-hours. It's important to remember that you can strengthen your career simply by holding a job and focusing on excelling in your current role.

Instead of spending your personal time reinvesting in your career, take initiative at work by asking for challenging projects that will push you outside of your comfort zone. Show your managers what you've learned and how it can improve or modernize processes within your organization. Moreover, look into your company's L&D offerings. Many organizations offer skills development courses for their employees and allow learning during work hours. By doing this, you can continue to grow and develop without sacrificing your personal time.

I once had a senior recruiter who was an expert in a challenging industry we had started hiring in. She had worked on several independent recruiting projects, and her accomplishments were impressive. However, six months later, we had to let her go because she had burnt herself out with after-hours projects and other commitments. She had started to regularly miss meetings and deadlines due to attending new workshops and pursuing miscellaneous skills courses after hours. It was a tough lesson on the importance of balancing personal growth with professional responsibilities. Remember to take time to rest, recover, and relax - it's essential for long-term career success.

Joe Coletta, Founder and CEO, 180 Engineering


Leverage Online Learning Platforms

It boils down to the pace at which technology evolves and how it reshapes job markets. Every day, new tools and technologies emerge, changing how we work and what skills are in demand. This constant state of flux means staying still is not an option if you want to remain competitive and relevant in your field.

If you want to keep up, here's a pointer: Tap into the power of online learning platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning. These platforms are gold mines for anyone looking to bolster their skill set or pivot to new areas. 

They offer the flexibility to learn at your own pace, wherever you are, and they cover a vast range of topics—from coding to leadership skills. By engaging with these resources, you can adapt to the future of work. It's all about being proactive and making learning a continuous part of your career strategy.

Thomas Amos, CEO, Sidekicker


Develop Irreplaceable Specific Knowledge

As artificial intelligence and automation rapidly transform the workplace, the value of human capital lies in the unique skills, experiences, and perspectives that individuals bring to the table. This is where specific knowledge, a concept described by Naval Ravikant, becomes crucial for upskilling and reskilling efforts. 

Specific knowledge refers to the expertise and abilities stemming from an individual's natural talents, interests, and experiences. It cannot be easily replicated or taught in a traditional classroom, making it a powerful asset in an era of automation. By focusing on developing their specific knowledge, workers can position themselves as irreplaceable contributors in their field.

To cultivate specific knowledge, workers should engage in continuous learning and exploration aligned with their natural inclinations and curiosities. This may involve seeking mentors, participating in industry-specific events, or taking on challenging projects. Leaders should create an environment that values and nurtures individual expertise, providing opportunities for employees to showcase their specific knowledge and collaborate with others who bring complementary skills. 

By fostering a culture of continuous learning and encouraging the development of specific knowledge, organizations can build teams that are resilient in the face of automation and capable of driving innovation and creating value in ways that machines cannot easily replicate.

Ben Bozzay, Founder and Senior Full Stack Developer, Tech Lockdown


Adopt a Proactive Growth Mindset

With the rapid advancements in technology, automation, and changing job market demands, I believe it's essential for professionals to upgrade their skill sets to stay relevant in 2024. Many traditional jobs are being replaced by AI and robotics, making it crucial for workers to acquire new skills to stay competitive. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for remote work and digital skills, further emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and adaptation.

My best advice for workers and leaders in the current scenario is to embrace a growth mindset. This means being open to learning new skills, taking on challenges, learning from mistakes, and continuously seeking opportunities for development. Skill stagnation can hinder your career and earning potential. 

Utilize online resources such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udemy, or industry-specific training to increase your expertise and succeed in today's rapidly changing work environment. Collaborate with peers and mentors, attend workshops and conferences, and be proactive and adaptable in your approach to learning and development. A growth mindset is all about seeking out opportunities to be better in your field and stepping out of your comfort zone to learn something new and worthwhile.

Ben Lamarche, General Manager, Lock Search Group


Model Continuous Learning After Doctors

The pace of change in the workplace is faster than it has ever been, putting a great deal of pressure on both employees and leaders to be consistent learners. This means, in my experience, that there can never be a time in your career where you are not only working but also working on some new piece of upskilling, such as a course, stretch project, or similar. 

In the past, even as little as 10 years ago, you could afford to wait and upskill as needed when you saw that your skills were becoming redundant. That change can now happen inside of a year or two, rather than over the course of a decade, so waiting until you see the writing on the wall is already too late. Use doctors as a model—they are always looking through trade journals, auditing lectures, and looking for ways to modernize what they are doing.

Dragos Badea, CEO, Yarooms


Stay Relevant with Self-Awareness

Machines are taking over some jobs, so learning data analysis, AI, or even how to build robots themselves can keep you relevant. The skills needed today might not be the same tomorrow, so keep learning new things to fit with the latest trends. Never stop learning—it'll help you explore new careers, know more, and stay competitive for the long haul.

The key to successful upskilling/reskilling is self-awareness. Identify your skill gaps by analyzing your current role, researching future trends, and considering your career aspirations. Microlearning platforms offer bite-sized, focused learning modules that fit seamlessly into busy schedules.

Khunshan Ahmad, CEO, InsideTechWorld


Utilize Industry-Specific Online Platforms

As a leader, I understand the importance of upskilling and reskilling in today's rapidly evolving workplace. With the constant advancements in technology and shifts in industry dynamics, staying relevant and competitive requires continuous learning and skill development. 

One valuable tip I can offer to both workers and leaders is to take advantage of online learning platforms tailored to our specific industry and skill needs. For example, we can utilize platforms like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning to access courses focused on sustainable business practices, waste reduction strategies, or eco-friendly product development. 

For instance, if the marketing manager of our company wants to enhance his skills in digital marketing techniques tailored to sustainable brands, he can enroll in an online course specifically addressing this topic. 

Upon completing the course and implementing the newly acquired strategies in our marketing campaigns, we observe tangible results such as a 27% increase in online engagement and a 19% growth in sales of plastic-free products.

Chaitsi Ahuja, Founder and CEO, Brown Living


Remain Competitive with Affordable Online Courses

Upskilling and reskilling have become vital in 2024 due to the rapidly evolving job market and advancements in technology. The need for workers to enhance their skills or learn new ones has never been more crucial as industries continue to transform and automate. 

One tip for workers and leaders looking to upskill or reskill in today's workplace environment is to take advantage of online learning platforms like Coursera or Udemy, which offer a wide range of courses in various subjects at affordable prices. 

These platforms provide convenient access to high-quality education that can help individuals stay competitive and adapt to the changing demands of their profession. By regularly investing time and effort into learning new skills through these resources, workers and leaders can ensure they remain valuable assets in the workforce.

Michael Alexis, CEO, Virtual Team Building


Integrate New Tech with Micro-Learning

Our design agency prioritizes continuous learning and skill development to stay ahead of the ever-changing digital landscape. Emerging technologies like VR/AR require designers to be adaptable and constantly integrate new advancements. 

Client expectations are also evolving, with a growing demand for data-driven, personalized experiences. Reskilling empowers us to understand these complexities and deliver exceptional results.

We recommend a micro-learning approach to achieve this. Bite-sized learning opportunities like online courses or internal knowledge-sharing sessions ensure our team stays future-proof with manageable skill development.

Juan Carlos Munoz, Co-Founder, CC Creative Design


Enhance Communication Skills for All Fields

As the great Ferris Bueller said, life moves pretty fast. Well, in 2024, business moves even faster. The pace of technological change continues to accelerate, which is why upskilling and reskilling are so important—now more than ever. Doctors, nurses, teachers, and lawyers have always had to continue their professional development throughout their careers, but nowadays, even people who lead teams of software engineers have to learn new coding languages. Whatever field you're in, I'm sure it applies—or will, soon.

But as the owner of a small business, there's one thing I can advise to anyone and everyone: get better at writing and communication. Being able to get across your ideas—whether to sell a product or service or to ace an interview—will always be valuable, regardless of your industry. Being succinct, clear, and persuasive is a great asset—but it's a skill that needs to be learned, practiced, and developed over time.

Phillip Mandel, Owner, Mandel Marketing


Invest in Adaptability Vs. Specific Skill Sets

In today's world, keeping your security team stuck in the old ways is like guarding a vault with a butter knife. Physical security systems are getting smarter, intertwining with complex technology. This creates a blind spot for those clinging to outdated methods. At Mammoth Security, we prioritize upskilling our team. We view it as an investment in staying ahead of the game, ensuring our clients' facilities are fortresses, not targets, in this ever-evolving security landscape.

For leaders looking to upskill their workforce, here's a counterintuitive tip: embrace adaptability over specific skill sets. The physical security landscape is rapidly merging with technology. Don't get bogged down searching for someone with every specific skill. Invest in individuals who demonstrate a willingness to learn and adapt—they'll be the ones who can bridge the gap between traditional security and the tech-driven future.

Eugene Klimaszewski, President, Mammoth Security


Acquire Skills via Micro-Credentialing Programs

In 2024, upskilling and reskilling have become vital due to the rapid evolution of technology and the changing nature of industries. As a leader, I recognize the importance of staying ahead of these shifts to ensure our company remains competitive and adaptable in the dynamic marketplace.

One valuable piece of advice I can offer to workers and leaders alike is to embrace continuous learning through micro-credentialing programs. These programs allow individuals to acquire specific skills or knowledge in a shorter time frame, making them ideal for busy professionals looking to upskill or reskill efficiently. For example, if the company's marketing manager recognizes the growing importance of data analytics in digital marketing, he or she could enroll in a micro-credentialing program focused on data analysis for marketing professionals.

By completing this program, the manager can quickly gain expertise in leveraging data to optimize our marketing strategies and drive better results, which has shown tangible results such as a 27% increase in online engagement and a 19% growth in sales of plastic-free products.

Swayam Doshi, Founder, Suspire


Broaden Perspective Beyond AI

Is the need for reskilling a side effect of widespread AI applications? Obviously, yes. But is AI the sole reason? Absolutely not.

If you work in the SEO industry or the digital realm, you may be tired of hearing about AI and technological advancements and how they affect the workplace. There has been a lot of discussion about addressing skill gaps to target tasks brought on by emerging technologies. Naturally, if you don't follow the crowd, you will lose the race.

Yet, technological advancements aren't the only change we can see in the world today. We observe demographic changes, the shift to green technologies, globalization, or new economic trends. Lastly, there are greater shifts in the nature of work that we can observe, including the growth of remote work, the gig economy, or the growing significance of soft skills. One thing is certain: if you do not invest in upskilling and reskilling, you will fall behind the competition. Not only will you lack the necessary competencies for your organization to grow, but the harsh reality is that your finest talents, who want to remain competitive in the job market, may quit your organization if you do not provide them the opportunity to adapt their skills.

When I look at the broader conversation on this topic, I notice that AI topics receive a disproportionate amount of attention. Well, I'd recommend taking a larger perspective on present changes and upcoming global concerns. Instead of focusing solely on the technological skills gap, find shortages in other areas of your company and prioritize those that have been neglected. Also, be inspired by companies that have had significant growth in the last two years, despite global shifts, and continue to expand. Examine their solutions and determine which one will work for you.

Karolina Górska, Senior HR Coordinator, Delante


Implement Mentor-Based Upskilling Programs

Businesses are constantly shifting, and the skills you need to thrive today might not be the same ones you need tomorrow. That's where upskilling and reskilling come into play. They help bridge the gap between the skills employees have and the skills they need.

The best way to go about filling this gap is to identify the people on your team who possess the skills that your organization wants to train for or upskill. Maybe you're moving towards automation, or perhaps you need better project management skills.

Look within your existing workforce. Who's already excelling in these areas? Who's the go-to person for troubleshooting or training? Once you've pinpointed these experts, offer mentor-based upskilling programs. Pair them up with employees who want to learn. The experts get to share their knowledge, and the learners get hands-on experience from someone who knows their stuff.

Mike Roberts, Co-Founder, City Creek Mortgage

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