Head of Badenoch & Clark
We all know that education is important. This is especially true in Switzerland which has one of the best public education systems in the world.
The beauty of education is that it gives us knowledge and then it turns it into something even better. It gives us a perspective on life and allows us to develop our own opinions. When we put this knowledge to use, it allows us to develop our skills and experience over time.
Now just imagine what happens when you bring education into the workplace. This is the true value of human capital in a business.
Therefore, I passionately believe in the enrichment that lifelong learning can offer. Achieving this, however, is not easy. The ongoing digitalization and automation of the Swiss economy requires significant investment in education. According to a study by digital Switzerland, over half the Swiss workforce will require re-skilling and up-skilling by 2022.
What is reskilling and upskilling?
The terms reskilling and upskilling often get lumped together. However, they have completely different meanings. Reskilling is when you learn new skills, so you can do a different job. Upskilling, by contrast, is the process of learning new skills for the job you are currently doing.
In this fast-paced digital world, both are highly relevant. Quite frequently skilled workers find that there are now new well-paying jobs that may not have existed at the start of their careers. For instance, a university statistician could become a data analyst for Google or SAP. To change roles like this, they would have to reskill.
Upskilling by contrast arguably affects us all and is not limited by our career choice. For instance, in the early 1980s, there were not many computers in the office, mobile phones didn't exist, remote working was a fantasy and we didn't have the Internet.
Yet, today most people are technologically literate because they have learned how to be. This is one of the best examples of upskilling in the last few decades. Looking forward, rapid technological progress shows little signs of slowing as automation and artificial intelligence enters the workplace. Upskilling will, therefore, become a major priority for many companies.
Reskilling and upskilling is particularly relevant Switzerland
Switzerland is home to a number of world-leading companies across several different industries. We hire some of the most skilled and talented employees in the world both locally and from abroad.
This is what helps us remain competitive and allows us to adjust rapidly when the environment changes. Swiss companies, therefore, place a lot of value on human capital and are willing to invest significantly to retain and attract skilled workers.
In fact, the opportunity to reskill and upskill within a company is considered an important part of the "employer brand". It's attractive to skilled professionals because it increases their employability in the future and helps them transition between jobs. Most Swiss companies already offer this, whether it's paying for professional qualifications or something more academic i.e. an executive MBA course.
Reskilling and upskilling increases dynamism in a company
In this technological age, business models are constantly changing, altering the nature of our jobs, and creating new ones. Therefore, professional workers that are willing to reskill and upskill in this environment are valuable as they're more likely to help steer a company in the right direction.
This is one of the most important reasons why companies should invest in reskilling and upskilling those that work for them. Apart from delivering job satisfaction, skilled professional workers also give companies greater awareness of the challenges and changes they face.
Another important feature of reskilling and upskilling is that it allows companies to develop a workforce that has cross-functional skillsets. For working professionals, this can help enrich their career growth path and future employability. Consequently, they're happier in their roles and easier to retain.
Companies also benefit. Cross-functional skillsets can allow them to adapt quickly and more nimbly in the industries they operate in. They can quickly restructure and move teams to alter their business models towards a new environment that has emerged.
Reskilling and upskilling are therefore incredibly important, especially as we enter this new digital age. It can give a company the dynamism they need to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing business environment. It’s therefore, not just good for retaining and attracting talented workers. It’s also good for business.