Why the best IT job candidates want to up-skill or re-skill (a business perspective)

For IT job candidates, a desire to up-skill or re-skill – or evidence showing you have already done so – can be a very good thing. It may be the best way to show your commitment and suitability for a particular role.

But what about for businesses? Are candidates who are or want up-skilling or re-skilling merely a necessity in an IT jobs market where demand is high?

Many would argue not at all. In fact, there are many reasons why already upskilled or reskilled candidates are desirable – and why many businesses should strongly consider upskilling or reskilling their team anyway:

What is upskilling?

Upskilling or “up-skilling” is all about building on the skills someone already has in a particular field so they know the latest techniques, approaches, and theories.

An example in an IT job might be a software developer or web developer learning the latest language to replace their outdated knowledge of a language that has had its day.

Upskilling doesn’t always require – or isn’t always required by – someone looking to move to a new company. Instead, it’s usually about improving day-to-day performance or demonstrating you have the skills required to get a coveted promotion within an organisation.

Often, it’s done from the top down, with employers offering upskilling programs to their teams to ensure they remain at the forefront of the industry.

What is reskilling?

Reskilling or “re-skilling” usually involves learning new skills in a field that isn’t necessarily the one you already have skills or experience in.

An example might be an employee – or even a whole business – in a field that is fading away or being outmoded by new technology. By reskilling, either individually or as a team, they open up new markets and opportunities for themselves.

Reskilling can be done top-down, with employers giving their team training in new skills so as to not lose them or need to replace them.

It can also happen from the bottom up, with individuals realising their best chance of getting an IT job more like the one they always wanted is to re-skill so they have more to offer potential employers.

With the coming of Artificial Intelligence and other technologies, it is likely that many jobs – and possibly whole industries – will need to re-skill in the years to come.

The benefits of upskilling and reskilling for businesses

1) Talent retention

Searching for higher wages elsewhere is by no means the only reason that people leave their current job for pastures new. Lack of career growth and development opportunities is one of the most-cited factors behind new job searches.

More than anything else, it is more training (usually this means up-skilling or re-skilling) that people say they are looking for in their next job. This makes providing it where they are now a great way to keep them on board.

Investing in reskilling and upskilling programs is also a strong statement that you believe in the future of your business.

2) Productivity boosts

An often-overlooked benefit of providing your team with this sort of training is that it can have the side-effect of boosting productivity.

After taking a step back, it’s easy to see why. When your team wants training and they see that you value them enough to provide it, job satisfaction increases. In turn, so does productivity.

3) Better business outcomes

Some people may point to Intellectual Property or their brand as the most valuable assets a business possesses.

But others will show how much the skills and talents of an organisation’s staff determine its success. How well it is able to keep up with the demands of its clients and its market, for instance.

A better-trained team creates better business outcomes. It’s not just that your team believes in your belief they can do the job, as outlined above. It’s also the fact that they really can do the job better than ever before.

Why the best IT job candidates want to up-skill and re-skill

It has been said many times in the last few years that the UK is experiencing a skills shortage – that there is a lag between the IT skills employers need and those the available talent has.

But it’s not just a case of needing to train bodies to fill the gaps (though this is certainly a factor) that makes up-skilled and re-skilled talent so desirable.

From an employee perspective, the reasons to up-skill and re-skill might be obvious. More and better opportunities, to name just one.

Yet from a business perspective, candidates who have or want to re-skill and up-skill are great too. They lead to a more motivated, engaged, and skilled workforce that can produce better business outcomes – and who will want to stay with you for the longer term.

On top of this, recognition of the need to upskill and reskill their team is the calling card of a business whose leaders are planning for what tomorrow will bring too.

Are you looking for the right talent to supplement a team you’re already upskilling and reskilling?

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