Hiring managers prioritise upskilling, survey finds

SOURCE: Cindy Ord/Getty Images/AFP
Hiring managers are prioritising applicants who can demonstrate their upskilling efforts.

By U2B Staff 

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During disruptive times like the current pandemic, companies big and small are forced to reevaluate their workforce. This is essential to ensure staff and managers are skilled or in the process of upskilling to meet current and future needs at the workplace.

Scores of employees are being laid off or furloughed as some companies face the harsh impact of COVID-19, but many are still able to stay afloat or even flourish during these turbulent times.

For those caught somewhere in between, they need to take quick action to ensure they don’t go under during difficult economic times.


A recent survey found that a whopping 91% of Canadian decision-makers say that employees must refresh their hard skills to stay competitive in the workforce, while 87% add upskilling and reskilling is absolutely essential for career advancement.

The survey, carried out by The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals indicates that jobseekers should prioritise their professional development to meet the demand set by employers.

In today’s competitive job market, a large majority or 88% of hiring decision-makers also believe that it is critical for companies to reskill existing employees.

Similarly, 83% of hiring decision-makers agree that it is more cost-effective to reskill current workers than recruit or hire new employees.


Shane DeCoste, Express franchise owner in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said that now is the time to stand out “as someone who can add immediate value by bringing the right attitude to the table. Taking online courses or adding new certifications will tell employers that you are resourceful and driven to learn and grow.”

He also advised those looking for work to think about how they can improve their soft skills, as some of the top ones employers are currently looking for are “work ethic and integrity, attitude, communication, critical thinking and time management.”

DeCoste also recommends looking for “online resources, listen to podcasts, and read about in-demand soft skills. Investing in yourself in difficult times shows employers that you are engaged, and you want to grow and develop.”

Spending your free time upskilling or reskilling yourself during this period also shows future employees that you are proactive and a lifelong learner both personally and professionally.

Not only are there a wide range of online courses offered on platforms like Coursera, FutureLearn, and EdX to choose from for your upskilling or reskilling journey, but there are also online webinars and certification courses to further develop new skills.

It all depends on your goals and the type of job you are looking for post-COVID-19, or which area you want to upskill in to help your business thrive during difficult economic times.

From business and project management, blockchain, and cloud computing to coding and web development courses, there are both free and paid resources to help you develop new skills or improve upon your existing ones.