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Digital upskilling prepares employees for the future of work

As some industries face growing digital skills shortages, upskilling current employees and promoting a culture of learning will be crucial to keeping up with changes in technology.

Technology is transforming the way businesses operate. As such, employees in nearly every industry must learn to adapt. By providing opportunities for digital upskilling, companies can help their employees gain technology-based skills that will enable them do their jobs now and in the future.

Employees will need a solid foundation in skills like AI, data aggregation and visualization, and process automation to keep up with the changing business environment, Roderick Adams, U.S. and Mexico talent acquisition leader at PwC, wrote in a recent article for HR Executive.

However, some industries may have more difficulty than others filling digital skills shortages. For example, there is a dearth of IT professionals, because not enough computer science majors are graduating from U.S. universities. To fill those gaps, most employees will need some knowledge in new technologies and must be willing to continue learning to keep up with all the changes. A culture of "infinite learning," as Adams called it, signals to employees that this is an important aspect of their employment.  

While it is critical to apply digital upskilling to the entire workforce, it is equally important to keep in mind that not every employee learns the same way. Providing a variety of tools and methods for learning allows employees to choose the one that works best for them. Some may learn best on their own, while others may benefit from instructor-led courses or immersion sessions. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach may alienate employees who have a genuine interest in learning, but do not have access to their preferred learning method.  

Outside of the current workforce, companies will also have to focus on hiring the right people from the get-go. Job candidates who show a desire to learn will be more likely to take advantage of opportunities for digital upskilling once they become employees. Ensuring candidates know before their first day on the job that they are expected to commit to learning can save time and money down the line. Companies may also want to invest in training future workers by partnering with educators to teach students technology-based skills.

Bridging the skills gap and future-proofing the workforce will require a mix of digital upskilling and hiring. Companies that fail to take these steps early on will have to play catch-up to remain competitive.

This article is part of a content exchange between TechTarget and Human Resource Executive, which produces the HR Technology Conference.

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