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This layoff season, upskill to stay afloat say experts

www.businessinsider.in | February 27, 2023
Article Intro Image
  • 50%-60% of hiring managers consider learning through online courses as an important part of their recruitment process.
  • Candidates need to self-assess skills and experience that they already possess and look at skills they want to develop.
  • Employees should evaluate the course content and decide whether it aligns with their current and future career goals.
While 2021 and 2022 were characterized by the great resignation, 2023 could very well be the time of great layoffs. Recently layoffs have been common especially in the tech sector, with thousands of employees laid off and in lookout for a job, while others are living in the fear that they may be laid off too when the axe falls again.

In such a circumstance, employees would do well to upskill so that they can bring more value to their organizations. A recent Upskilling Trends Report 2023, by Great Learning, a professional learning platform, highlights that upskilling helped 43% of professionals gain career growth in their own organization, while 23% were able to switch to a different domain and 18% were able to secure a new job.

“Ideally, the trigger for reading and continuously learning should happen well before the possibility of a layoff. That way you are already prepared. Most industries and functions are in the midst of a technology disruption. A good place to start would be to understand how technology is disrupting your sector and how you can leverage technology to improve your productivity and organization’s competitive advantage,” says Arjun Nair, Co-Founder, Great Learning.

E-learning is a great way to acquire new skills, as it gives candidates access to some of the best trainers and teachers in a specific field. “New-age skills acquired from reputed online learning platforms are of great value and employers definitely provide an edge to candidates with such learning experiences. In fact, around 50%-60% of hiring managers consider learning experiences through online courses as an important part of their recruitment process,” says Sanjay Shetty, Director, Professional Search & Selection, and Strategic Accounts, Randstad India, a recruitment agency.
“Firstly, candidates have to go back to the ancient Greek Delphic maxims - ‘know thyself’,” says Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-Founder and Executive Director, TeamLease Services, a staffing and human resources firm. Candidates have to self-assess skills and experience that they already possess. They have to list down the skills they own, want to develop and how they can gain the skills from different channels/sources needed for the job they aspire for.

There are various tools or organizations that offer these services that you can leverage, which are worth investing in. One can also look at job postings where one might be interested in applying going ahead. Looking at these job descriptions will help one understand what skills one should add to their portfolio.

As a fresher, you may not have much experience or knowledge about your field, so it's essential to focus on developing foundational or technical skills relevant to your industry. “You can start by assessing your current skill set and identifying any areas where you lack knowledge or expertise. Once you have a better idea of your skill gaps, you can then look for courses or programmes that offer an overview of the industry or job role you're interested in,” says Harsh Bharwani, CEO & Managing Director of Jetking Infotrain, a computer networking institute.

If you are in a job, it is important to map your career competencies and aspirations before you venture out to pursue paid courses, in particular.. “Consult career transition experts and, if available, career coaches, as well as peers, mentors, and industry experts who can advise you on the nuances of relevance and scalability and teach you from their successes and failures,” says Manu Saigal, Director - General Staffing, Adecco India, an HR services and recruiting company.
Choose the right course

The choice of a course will be a function of one’s aspirational career path and where they stand at present . “You must be sure that the courses you are taking shall improve your probability of success and will add resilience. Employers are looking at employees who can be put to multiple job roles and hence possess a variety of skills – sometimes diagonally opposite,” says Shantanu Rooj, Founder & CEO, TeamLease Edtech. For example, software engineers with understanding of psychology would be a great combination! So one approach is to identify skills and competencies that can assist you in advancing in your career or provide you with a competitive advantage in obtaining a promotion.
Always look at who is providing and who is teaching the course. Value of the course will depend on the instructor, content, and provider (in that order). “Finally, work towards applying the learning from the course on the job. Remember, courses do not make you employable, they help you develop those skills that make you employable. In your resume, focus on how the courses helped you in your job,” says Prof. Niraj Mankad, associate professor, operations, FLAME University.

While a course offered by a reputed university like Harvard may hold more value, you need to assess and evaluate the course contents and how relevant it is to your industry and whether it aligns to their current and future goals. One way to find out more about a course is to connect with people on Linkedin who have already taken the same course and ask them how the course has benefited them in terms of learning and career opportunities.
When choosing a course, it is important to strike the right balance between hard skills and soft skills. “Today, aspirants should focus on developing a combination of soft and hard skills as both are equally important in today's employment landscape,” says Shetty. For example, in the field of digital marketing, hard skills such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and web analytics are important, but so are soft skills such as communication, creativity, and critical thinking. On the other hand, an IT professional needs to be adept in hard skills including Java, DevOps, MySQL, etc. as well as soft skills such as communication, teamwork, time management, and adaptability.

Constant re-skilling and upskilling is thus extremely crucial to remain employable and competitive in today’s rapidly evolving job market.

(Source:- https://www.businessinsider.in/careers/news/ways-to-stay-relevant-in-a-competitive-job-market-upskilling-and-awareness-are-key-claim-experts/articleshow/98265572.cms )