AcademyEX logo large white

9 Oct, 2023 - 5 min read

Are your employees' skills out of date?

Those who don't upskill may be fast approaching the 'end of the line'

The world has experienced a dizzying pace of change over the last few years. From pandemics and geopolitical conflict to the explosion of new technology and AI, the world of work has been reshaped dramatically – and both employers and employees are racing to keep up.

According to academyEX founder Frances Valintine, focusing on skills has never been more important. While some skills are becoming increasingly redundant, others are actively growing and in high demand. For organisations working to stay competitive and relevant, understanding major industry shifts and new innovations is crucial.

Valintine notes that many industries have experienced significant changes over the last few years, and so all professionals have had to ‘reinvent themselves’ to respond to changing customer expectations .

“Journalism is a good example of where skills have really changed,” Valintine tells HRD.

“There’s less long-form investigative journalism because attention spans have changed, and people want more bite-sized content. Then you have the banking industry, where we’ve gone from relying on face-to-face interaction with bank managers to having almost no reason to walk into a bank.”

“The booking intermediary for travel and tourism is gone, as it’s all self-service,” she adds. “A lot of roles like company secretary and assistant have just vanished over time.”

Valintine notes that broader changes in attitudes, values and behaviours also have a significant impact on skills. Clients increasingly want to work with sustainable businesses, so companies may find themselves changing the way they operate – which means they’ll need technical specialists, logistics specialists, and those who can handle efficiency and cost reduction.

AI is also exploding onto the scene, and Valintine says it is almost 

“Jobs will continue to be available for those who use AI in their jobs, and not for those who don’t,” she explains.

“It’ll be like going to an accountant, and them asking ‘Do you mind if I use a calculator instead of a spreadsheet formula?’ And the answer will be yes, I do mind, because the process will take longer and be more expensive compared to someone who’s using the right tools for the job.”

For an organisation that doesn’t adapt and upskill, Valintine warns there will inevitably be an 'end of the line.' Such organizations will either lack the capabilities to operate in the evolving market or discover they no longer possess the knowledge and expertise needed to remain competitive.

Instead, Valintine suggests now is the moment for organisations to prioritise continuous development. That doesn't merely involve attending a few seminars – it implies actively investing in training and recognising learning as a fundamental aspect of the organisational journey. 

“We’ve got to leave behind the idea that learning is something you do in the early part of your life,” Valintine says.

“Ongoing professional development keeps people connected to the world, it allows them to have more in-depth conversations with others who are learning, and there’s an immediate cognitive benefit too! Learning doesn’t have to be expensive anymore either. You can learn online for free, at a local community centre, or it can be from someone coming into the company and providing in-house training.”

If you’re looking for the best way to start, Valintine says the first step is looking at what your own company offers. Organisations should be making a concerted effort to identify the biggest skill gaps in their field, and to actively encourage staff to take advantage of learning opportunities.

For organisations, this may include creating bespoke courses through professional development providers such as academyEX, which offers bespoke learning created by subject matter experts across a broad range of subject matters and industries.

“Most people will need a nudge to go and learn, and they need to be given the time and the permission,” Valintine says.

“It’s about leaders saying ‘this is a really important part of us doing our job well and investing in staff.’ If it can be done in-house and embedded into the company culture, it’ll be much more impactful.”

Contact academyEX and discover how your organisation can easily elevate professional development and internal mobility.


Get in touch for more information

Get academyEX updates delivered to your inbox.

We care about the protection of your data.

Read our Privacy Policy.