Upskilling or Reskilling – Which Is Important for Business Professionals?

The adoption of upskilling and reskilling strategies has become widespread due to the rapidly transforming labor landscape and the heightened pace of technological advancement. Research by the World Economic Forum indicates that around 85 million jobs may become partially or completely automated by 2025. In contrast, approximately 97 million new roles will also be created to focus on the division of labor between humans and machines.

In light of these findings, recruiting adaptable and resilient candidates to thrive in the constantly changing workplace setting has become increasingly necessary. Furthermore, these statistics underscore the importance of enhancing existing competencies through upskilling or gaining entirely new skills through reskilling to avoid redundancy and prepare both individuals and organizations for the future of work.

Below, we will discuss the importance of both upskilling and reskilling for the success of a business professional.

Upskilling vs. Reskilling: What’s the difference?

An employee’s acquisition of new skills to expand their existing skill set is referred to as upskilling. These additional skills can enhance the employee’s performance in their current role and propel them forward in their career trajectory.

For instance, an employee in a business management role who wishes to upskill may pursue an online business and management degree to remain updated on the latest industry trends and acquire new leadership, decision-making, and communication skills. Pursuing online programs can lead to improved job performance and potentially open up opportunities for career advancement within the organization. Besides that, the flexibility of online programs allows employees to balance their learning with work and other responsibilities, making it an attractive option for those seeking to upskill.

On the other hand, employee reskilling pertains to acquiring new skills outside the employee’s existing skillset. While these skills may be closely related to their current function, they may also be geared towards a different path altogether. For example, an employee in marketing who wishes to reskill may decide to learn coding and web development to take on new responsibilities in the organization’s digital marketing department. It would require a significant departure from their current skillset but could lead to a rewarding career change and opportunities for professional growth.

Both upskilling and reskilling are concerned with talent development, and both necessitate the acquisition of new skills by the employee. However, the two terms differ with respect to their outcomes. Although both processes aid employees in expanding their knowledge, they diverge in terms of the nature of the skills learned and the ultimate objective of the learning endeavor.

Importance of Upskilling for Business Professionals

When an employer invests in their staff’s learning, development, and growth, it conveys a sense of value to the employees and reduces the likelihood of them leaving the company. According to a study by McKinsey, employees often cite feeling undervalued by their organizations or managers as a key reason for quitting. The study highlights that a lack of learning opportunities and tedious or unchallenging work are primary drivers of employee attrition.

According to another study conducted by Gallup-Amazon, 48% of workers in the United States are willing to switch jobs if offered opportunities for skills training. Moreover, 65% of employees consider employer-provided upskilling to be crucial when assessing a potential new job opportunity.

Investing in upskilling offers several advantages for organizations. It not only enhances employee morale and productivity but also reduces recruitment costs. A report by Gallup estimated that replacing an employee could cost up to twice their annual salary. Additionally, upskilling ensures an agile, adaptable, and flexible workforce. It also ensures a culture that promotes employee growth and personal and professional development. Finally, upskilling can enhance an organization’s reputation for supporting its staff and contribute to greater job satisfaction and positive company culture. It can lead to a stronger brand image, making it easier for companies to attract and retain top talent.

Importance of Reskilling for Business Professionals

Reskilling is an essential strategy for professionals facing redundancy or seeking new job opportunities, as it enables them to remain employable and adapt to the changing job market. In fact, according to a report by McKinsey, up to 375 million workers globally might need to switch occupational categories and hone new skills by 2030 due to automation and the shifting nature of work.

The benefits of reskilling are numerous. First and foremost, it increases the employability of professionals, as they can adapt to new roles and industries. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 70% of professionals who reskill can find new jobs in a different field. Additionally, reskilling can lead to higher salaries, as professionals with in-demand skills are often paid more.

Furthermore, reskilling allows professionals to stay competitive in a rapidly changing job market. According to PwC, 74% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of critical skills in their organizations, and 73% are worried about rapid technological change. Reskilling can help address these concerns by ensuring professionals have the skills to succeed.

Reskilling is vital for professionals facing redundancy or seeking new job opportunities. It increases employability, enhances earning potential, ensures competitiveness in a changing job market, and can lead to personal and professional growth.

Which Is More Important for Business Professionals: Upskilling or Reskilling?

Whether upskilling or reskilling is more important for business professionals largely depends on individual circumstances and industry trends.

Upskilling is particularly important for professionals who want to advance in their current roles or industries. They may already have the necessary foundational skills but need additional training to learn new technologies, processes, or tools that have become prevalent in their field. For example, in the technology industry, professionals may need to upskill in the latest programming languages or data analytics tools to stay relevant and competitive.

On the other hand, reskilling may be more relevant for professionals facing redundancy or those seeking new job opportunities in emerging industries. They may need to learn new skills or acquire a different skill set to transition into a new role or industry. For instance, an oil and gas engineer may need to reskill to become a renewable energy engineer as the demand for fossil fuels decreases.

Factors influencing the choice between upskilling and reskilling include individual career goals, industry trends, and the availability of training programs. In some cases, both upskilling and reskilling may be necessary to keep up with the rapidly evolving job market and meet the demands of a changing industry.


The significance of upskilling and reskilling in the current labor landscape cannot be overemphasized. The fast-paced technological advancements and shifting nature of work make it necessary for individuals and organizations to acquire new skills to remain relevant and competitive. Upskilling involves expanding one’s existing skill set, while reskilling entails learning new skills outside one’s current skill set. Both upskilling and reskilling have their advantages for business professionals. Upskilling enhances employee morale and productivity, reduces recruitment costs, and promotes personal and professional development. Reskilling, on the other hand, increases employability, ensures competitiveness in a changing job market, and can lead to personal and professional growth. Ultimately, the choice between upskilling and reskilling depends on individual circumstances and industry trends.