Upskilling is not a new buzzword. With the world economy undergoing a digital transformation, we’ve seen how some traditional jobs have modified, while others have disappeared or been replaced.
A 2017 report by McKinsey predicted that 14% of workers would have to change jobs or pick up new skills by 2030 in order to remain relevant. This is because 30% of work activities may be replaced by automation by then. So while jobs that existed before may not be around anymore, new jobs are also being created almost on a daily basis.
This need to upskill has since been accelerated by the recent global pandemic. Businesses and individuals had to quickly adapt to new levels of digitisation.
So why is it important to diversify your skills?
It’s the same reason why we diversify our investment portfolios — we need to increase our skillsets to hedge against events that we have no control over.
And on the contrary, being a jack of all trades doesn’t mean you’re a master of none. Having more skills in your pocket means you can pivot quickly when the need calls for it, as well as improve work performance. You’re able to draw connections from different disciplines to solve issues.
Says Professor Tan Eng Chye from the National University of Singapore: “The rapid pace of change in many industries means that the old model of intense academic specialisation will no longer work for our young adults.”
Which is why the university is making plans to set up a College of Humanities and Sciences to provide a broad-based and interdisciplinary education. “Graduates into the workforce will need breadth of knowledge, depth, as well as the ability to integrate multiple disciplines to solve complex problems.”