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A widening skills gap is emerging globally, and the United Kingdom is being hit just as hard as the rest of the world. As this skills gap continues to grow, organisations must explore the most efficient and effective ways of addressing internal professional needs. Additionally, the ability to simply hire new workers for the expanding list of unmet qualifications is also unavailable.

As Tera Allas, Director of Research and Economics at McKinsey, tells the Financial Times, “The demand for workers continues to grow, but their supply isn’t growing at the same speed. It’s more of an issue of education and training.

So, if organisations continue to accrue skillset needs that cannot be satisfied with outside hires, what options exist? As Allas suggests above, reskilling and upskilling of current workers is the most effective solution. If reskilling and upskilling are the obvious answer, then why aren’t more organisations making use of this route? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of reskilling and upskilling, the challenges organisations face when implementing this approach, and how virtual training and reskilling programmes can bridge the gap.

The benefits of reskilling

A recent McKinsey study found that 75 percent of skill gap circumstances for organisations in the UK can be resolved most effectively by reskilling current employees. This doesn’t mean the remaining 25 percent can’t be, but that the most effective approach for three-quarters of skill gap issues is reskilling. The clear benefits of reskilling include:

  • Financial: McKinsey’s study found that outside hires demand, on average, 20% more in salary than upskilling current employees.
  • Time: Onboarding is a time-intensive, resource-draining process that not only requires a ramp-up of a new employee’s abilities to deliver, but also takes time and energy away from your organisation’s best workers who provide these insights. Reskilling a current employee saves your organisation precious time.
  • Culture: By promoting from within, you not only instil a culture of continued learning, but you also boost the morale of your workers who know their ability for professional growth is readily available.
  • Multi-dimensional: When a variety of current employees with different backgrounds from within your organisation are given new opportunities, they bring diverse thoughts and insights into their new roles.

Challenges to reskilling

There are many benefits of reskilling your organisation’s employees; however, getting to that place isn’t always straightforward. Reskilling programmes must be approached correctly in order to reap the rewards of implementation. Organisations are hesitant to undertake a reskilling programme for understandable reasons, including:

  • Lack of clarity: How wide is the skills gap? What are the specific skills missing? How can the organisation effectively train workers to meet the new demands?
  • Lost investment: How much will it actually cost to train current workers effectively? What if the organisation reskills workers only to see them take another job with their new abilities elsewhere?
  • Lack of interest: What if the organisation’s more-tenured employees don’t want to learn new skills? What if workers have already reached their organisational zenith?

While these concerns are valid, the reality is much different. In fact, LinkedIn found that 94 percent of workers would stay at their company if the organisation would invest in their careers. By the same token, a different LinkedIn study found that 93 percent of organisations are concerned about employee retention. Reskilling current workers is not only more cost-effective and culture-affirming, but it also helps to address a top concern of most organisations.

How virtual training helps bridge the gap

As of 2023, nearly half (44 percent) of UK employees work remotely at least some portion of the time. Technology has entered nearly every facet of the workplace. Luckily, it’s also helping to create more effective results for organisations, as well. Virtual training platforms allow organisations to train, reskill, and upskill workers in measurable, scalable ways that in-person environments simply can’t do. Virtual training platforms have a number of impacts on reskilling programmes, including:

  • Time: Having your top in-house talent coach your newest hires or most recently upskilled workers can only happen as frequently as you’re willing to take them away from doing what they do best for your organisation. With a virtual training platform, your best workers can put together their insights once, and you can use them as many times as you need without pulling them away from their primary responsibilities.
  • Finances: Not only does in-person training require a lot of time, but that time is also expensive. During upskilling, reskilling, or onboarding in person, you’re paying everyone involved their full salary while only one cumulative task is accomplished. By leveraging the power of a virtual training platform, every time you utilise the already-created training packages, you’re getting “free” hours from those who would’ve otherwise dedicated work time to real-time coaching.
  • Scalability: When viewed through the lens of what is required of current team workers, time and finances are being saved by digital training programmes; however, when viewed through the full organisational lens, a virtual training platform is infinitely scalable, as well, meaning you can educate, reskill, train, and upskill anyone within the organisation without sinking in additional resources.
  • Availability: Whether your organisation operates across different time zones, geographic office locations, or other physical barriers, a virtual training platform allows for both synchronous and asynchronous training modules so individuals can get reskilled anytime, anywhere—keeping your organisation operating as efficiently as possible.

Now is the time to act

The skills gap is a global problem facing organisations across industries. As the professional landscape continues to become increasingly competitive for top talent, organisations that can leverage internal resources to address continued needs will meet this demand head-on.

Are you ready to learn more about how a virtual training platform can transform your organisation’s ability to face tomorrow prepared? Reach out to a Class team member today, and let’s empower your workers with a next-level reskilling programme.

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About Kelvyn
With over 20 years in education software, an aerospace engineer and pilot, Kelvyn founded an LMS company, led education solutions at Microsoft , Middle East & Africa and built a joint venture start-up with the UK Government. Now, as Head of UK&I at Class Technologies, he continues to drive innovation in hybrid and online learning.