It’s barely been a month into the new year, and layoffs are already being measured in the tens of thousands. Over 200 tech firms have let go of nearly 70,000 employees since the year started, reported The Economic Times. No one is being spared, as reports of long-standing staff who have worked decades with organisations like Google continue to dominate headlines.

Experts too have said that such layoffs are set to continue for the rest of the year as warnings of a recession looms.

This, on top with geopolitical disruptions, the Covid-19 pandemic and a continually changing face of work means that upskilling has become critical to keeping up. 50% of all employees will need to upskill or reskill themselves within the next 5 years, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. This comes as a result of a demand shift to value certain skillsets over others.

Administrative roles, for instance, will be at risk as automation becomes more prevalent and advanced. Meanwhile, soft skills like critical thinking and leadership will continue to be needed, and expertise in data analytics and artificial intelligence may see an increase in demand.

In a recent article by BBC, Linda Cai, vice-president of talent development at LinkedIn was quoted saying that skillsets for jobs have changed about 25% since 2015, with this number being expected to double by 2027. In response, youths will need to upskill themselves to keep up, or risk being left behind.

How to upskill

There are many ways to level up yourself and your skills, the most convenient of which is probably online courses. With numerous online learning platforms out there like Coursera, Skillshare or LinkedIn Learning, there’s bound to be a course for you. Such courses are particularly useful as they can be done on your own time, which means that you’ll be able to pick up new skills without having to take time off work or school.

Another avenue youths can check out for their upskilling needs are workshops and conferences. This is helpful if the individual requires more guidance or hands-on training. Furthermore, attending such sessions provide youths with the opportunity to network with other professionals in the field, which can be helpful for their career prospects.

Some organisations will also be happy to send their staff for such conferences or workshops as part of their learning and development programmes. Young professionals interested in upskilling themselves can talk to their managers to find out if such opportunities are available.

Finally, mentorship can be a great way for youths to improve themselves. A mentor can be invaluable in providing insider tips on the skills the industry currently values, and in offering advice of where youths can best acquire some of these skills. Beyond career coaching, they also provide encouragement and feedback for youths.

Future-proofing capabilities

Youths today need to look into developing skills that will not become redundant even as AI and technology advances. Take coding, for instance, With the advent of digital technologies, the demand for coding was on the rise. But the creation of ChatGPT has raised questions about that as well, with AI being able to write and correct code just as proficiently (or sometimes even more so) than humans.

With this in mind, young professionals should look into developing skills which are on the rise in the next decade, such as AI and machine learning, or data analytics and storytelling. They should also be constantly working on their soft skills, as those are the evergreen skills that will help them stand out from other candidates. The ability to communicate effectively, problem solve, and leadership capabilities will always be highly-valued in any organisation.

Need career advice or want to find out how you can best stand out as a candidate in today’s job market? Reach out to Charterhouse Asia today for more information!