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Don’t make yourself redundant

Just one in three (35%) New Zealanders are aware of the latest digital trends relevant to their job or industry, despite employers viewing regular upskilling as the norm for anyone who wants to remain employable in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

That’s according to a survey by recruiting experts Hays, which found that while 96% of the 1,253 professionals surveyed regard upskilling as ‘very important’ or ‘important’, almost half (48%) do so just once a year or less.

This is despite three-quarters (77%) of the 951 employers Hays also surveyed admitting that they’re more likely to shortlist a candidate who upskills regularly. They say upskilling shows a candidate is proactive, takes their development seriously, is genuinely interested in their field and is willing to put in the effort to stay up-to-date.

“Digital skills are now considered standard competencies for any role,” says Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand. “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 mind-set becoming a standard soft skill requirement in many job descriptions.”

The reason, according to Hays, is that people today work with technology that didn’t exist two or three years ago. “That’s the norm, regardless of your role or industry,” explains Adam. “Employers expect professionals to keep up with the latest technology and digital trends relevant to their job or industry.

“Digital skills are no longer viewed as nice-to-haves. They won’t help you stand out from the crowd anymore. Today, they’re considered standard requirements and any candidate that 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.”

While lifelong learning is essential to career success, it doesn’t need to involve a continuous series of expensive courses. According to Hays, there are several ways you can regularly upskill that won’t break the bank. These include 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 or utilising the plethora of free online tutorials on new technology and software applications.

It’s also advisable to showcase that you’re a constant learner to potential employers by updating your CV and LinkedIn profile with new software or skill competencies. You could even consider sharing your new knowledge on social media or through ‘think pieces’, says Hays.

Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.


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