Want to stay employable? Then keep ‘upskilling’, urges Hays

Global recruitment firm Hays has urged Australians to keep “upskilling” to stay employable during the “fourth industrial revolution”.

This is the name given to the current era of runaway automation and artificial intelligence in the workplace. Hays says updating digital skills will be crucial if workers are going to weather the revolution and stay relevant.

Almost half don’t upskill often enough

But the signs so far aren’t good. According to a new survey by Hays, just one in three Australians are aware of the latest digital trends relevant to their job or industry. Worse, almost half (48 per cent) upskill just once a year, or even less.

Yet upskilling is very important to employers, Hays found. Seventy-seven per cent of the 951 employers it surveyed said they’re more likely to shortlist a candidate who upskills regularly. According to the survey, employers believe upskilling shows a candidate is:

  • Proactive
  • Takes their development seriously
  • Genuinely interested in their field
  • Willing to put in the effort to stay up to date.

‘Out of touch’

Managing Director of Hays ANZ Nick Deligiannis says those who don’t upskill regularly risk getting left behind.

“Digital skills are now considered standard competencies for any role,” he said. “Any jobseeker who doesn’t upskill in digital regularly to keep their skills current is therefore seen as out of touch. We’re certainly seeing a constant-learning mindset becoming a standard soft-skill requirement in many job descriptions.

“Digital skills are no longer viewed as ‘nice-to-haves’. They won’t help you stand out from the crowd anymore. Today, they’re standard requirements. Any candidate who hasn’t made upskilling a regular component of their weekly or monthly schedule will be at a serious disadvantage when looking for their next job.”

Upskilling needn’t cost the earth

But while lifelong learning is essential to career success, says Hays, it needn’t involve a never-ending series of expensive courses. There are many simple things a candidate can do, including:

  • Asking for “stretch opportunities” at work
  • Following industry leaders and thinkers on social media
  • Joining an industry or professional association
  • Setting up a peer-to-peer learning group
  • Using free online tutorials on new technology and software applications.

Hays also recommends “updating your CV and LinkedIn profile with new software or skill competencies”. Candidates could also share their new knowledge on social media or through ‘think pieces’, Hays suggests.

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