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October 2017
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TD Magazine
Word Wiz: Upskill

A verb that means "to improve someone's job skills," the word upskill has become an important part of talent development vernacular.

Why?

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Shortening skills life cycles are forcing workers to upgrade their talents faster and more frequently than ever before. That's according to The Skills Revolution, a 2017 report from Manpower Group. The report also found that "jobs requiring higher levels of skills proficiency are growing fastest," while lower-skilled jobs are the ones most likely to disappear due to automation.

For many companies, that means loyal workers who have spent years in positions that require manual or repetitive labor might not be able to add value for much longer. However, that isn't to say such employees aren't valuable—they still possess intimate knowledge of the company's internal processes and culture.

Perhaps that's why The Skills Revolution indicates that 74 percent of companies offer internal training to upgrade their workers' talents. By moving these workers into high-growth areas such as IT, human resources, and customer relations (three fields the report predicts will experience growth), companies can both protect their cultures and reward the people who helped build them.

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About the Author
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.
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