Upskilling and training: Who is responsible for it?

Both employer and employee must understand the value of upskilling and continuous training, and prioritise these accordingly.
By: | January 2, 2019


About the Author

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard is the Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore.

In an ever-changing business and recruitment landscape, professionals should not consider upskilling and further training as a luxury or a “nice to have”, but a necessity for one’s career to ensure relevance in the workplace of the future.

Professional development and training are mutually beneficial for an individual as well as their employers.

Investing in upskilling continuously not only helps organisations remain competitive – but it also helps individuals adapt and stay on top of the latest industry trends, and thus remain highly employable in a competitive job market.

However, finding the time to attend training courses can be a challenge, especially when trying to balance daily work commitments, limited time and training costs.


So, who is responsible for driving continuous upskilling and training?

Employers benefit from having highly skilled staff. A company is only as good as its employees, so for an employer, their business can only be as good as the resources invested in their staff.

With industries, processes, regulations and technologies constantly evolving, skills similarly need to be constantly updated with regular training for employers to continue delivering the best results, and ultimately, contribute toward a stronger bottom-line.

Additionally, from a staff morale perspective, it is important that employers provide staff with the tools they need to perform and progress in their career.

Without it, morale may be affected and result in them being disengaged if they find themselves unable to perform and move forward.

In fact, according to Robert Half research, more than eight in 10 (84%) Singaporean CIOs state IT professionals are more willing to resign if their company is unable to provide them with their requested training compared to three years ago.

And while some employers might still view training as an additional expense rather than an investment, training can be a great way to ensure top employees do not leave the organisations for opportunities elsewhere.

Despite the cost of training, both in terms of time and money, it is important for employers to understand that it is well worth the additional cost.

Training can come in many different formats and doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up a lot of time.

Some options include classroom-led courses, seminars, peer-to-peer training, mentoring programs, lunchtime learning sessions or job rotations.


“To empower employees with the right skills and competencies, HR practitioners must rise up to the challenge and embrace experience-based skills development as another inventory in their upskilling toolbox.”

Why professionals should take ownership of upskilling and training

While individuals are attracted to employers who offer a strong training culture that supports constant upskilling, this is not always the reality in the workplace.

Regardless of whether upskilling and training is provided formally within the organisation, professionals should still take proactive ownership of their own learning and development.

After all, personal development is a journey, not a destination and no-one understands your journey as much as you do yourself – so why would you let someone else be in control of it?

Personal development is more than just working on the talents you already have. It’s about developing new skills, so you become even more valuable to a business and increase your overall market value.

By developing your skills, you may be able to seek new and exciting roles in other areas of the business, or be put forward for promotions, potentially with a better salary.

If company restructures are on the horizon, being able to show that you’re a self-learner is a positive quality to possess.

And if you’re looking for a new job, the new skills you learn will help give you a competitive advantage over other jobseekers.

So how can professionals seek further upskilling and training? This can include pursuing post-graduate education, tapping onto SkillsFuture courses available, participating in industry conferences and continuously seeking new relevant material to keep up-to-date with industry news.

You can learn by signing up for webinars, listening to TED talks, reading books, downloading audiobooks and podcasts.

In addition, networking and meeting like-minded people is important as well, to exchange knowledge and gain further insights and new perspectives.

While there may be a cost associated with some of these training options, there are lots of free learning opportunities available too.

If you do find something you want to study but the cost is too high, discuss what options are available to you with your employer.

If you’re able to demonstrate that there is a direct benefit to the organisation because of you completing a course, they may be willing to support you.

They may even allow you to take time out to complete a course, or attend a conference, without having to dip into your annual leave.

When it comes to an individual’s training and development, a growth mindset is key and first begins with taking personal ownership of the developmental process, whilst maximising any upskilling and training opportunities provided by your employer.

On the part of the employer, it is important to prioritise upskilling and realise the role that it plays in attracting and retaining talent.

Ultimately, this contributes to the effectiveness, competitiveness and sustainability of the organisation, and hence should be an aspect that employers look to hone and lend support to.