Why reskilling is so critical today

Our world is in the throes of major disruptions. One of the many impacts we are seeing is on the labor market, which is already being affected by the advancements of Industry 4.0.

We’ve heard time and time again — some of us have even felt the effects first-hand — of artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and other new technologies. Yet while many routine jobs have already been replaced by automation, new jobs are opening up to be filled by people who have the right skills.

But here’s the dilemma we all face, especially those who are still studying or have recently graduated and are entering the job market: When we are in school and university, we begin with a curriculum that is relevant to that particular time. A couple of years down the line, who’s to say that the knowledge we’ve gained is still relevant? It may still be relevant when we first enter the job market, but chances are we will have to update our knowledge many times to keep up with changes as our careers progress.

This is why we need to reskill, and why we need to learn constantly. Not only is reskilling necessary in our fast-changing world, but it is also crucial to meet the demands of new jobs that we’ll have to take on that have resulted from old jobs being replaced.

Even though the effects of technology seem so negative, we can create many opportunities from them; that is if we keep on learning.

Understanding the importance of reskilling is one thing, but how we go about doing it is another matter. Yes, we need to learn constantly, but how do we do that so we are actually reskilling? Here are five ways to begin.

First, understand what reskilling entails and set goals. Depending on other factors such as time, money and accessibility to learning content, decide on the scope of the skill development you want to pursue. Reskilling can mean learning new skills to take on new jobs, or developing your current skills so you can do your job better. Whichever way you approach it, decide which route you want to take first.

For example, if you’re a digital marketing specialist wanting to expand your skills into entrepreneurship with an eye to one day setting up a business, you are reskilling beyond what you know now, toward something with a different scope. With that in mind, you set goals.

Second, shift to a more positive learning mindset. We don’t always feel motivated to learn, especially new things that are completely beyond the scope of what we now do. But we cannot begin to unlock our greater potential if we don’t even try to overcome the negativity that is, most of the time, rooted in our own minds.

Third, list what technical and people skills you need to work on. Do some research and look into the skills that are in demand. You may already have some in mind, but what else do you need to work on? This is something you’ll need to figure out before even delving into learning.

Fourth, as Nike says, “Just do it.” You need to actually begin learning so you can discover whether you’re on the right path or not. Along the way, you may discover new passions and maybe even other elements in your learning that you may have missed and are relevant.

It is one thing to learn passively by reading and attending classes, but if you don’t apply what you’ve learned in real life, you can’t be certain that it actually works. You don’t actually learn if you don’t put the knowledge to work.

Finally, keep things flexible. When you’re reskilling, you’re learning and when you’re learning you cannot be rigid. The changes in our world don’t allow us to keep still, and that includes the knowledge we gain from learning.

Reskilling is all part of learning. To keep up with the changing demands of the job market as well as achieve a new level of success, you must constantly aim to ensure your relevance in the world.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa