by E. Flanagan | June 28, 2022 | 5 Min Read

Reskill, upskill, new skill: What do they mean?


What’s the difference between “upskill” and “reskill”? And what's a new skill? With The Great Resignation and massive reshuffle of employees across different roles, fields, and organizations, it seems like “skilling” is one of the most common phrases in business right now. If you have questions on terms like reskill, upskill, and new skill, you’re not alone.

Why upskilling employees is necessary

Staying competitive requires a strong team of employees equipped with skills for their current roles, future roles, and constant changes within their industry.

Employees want more than fair pay and reasonable work hours. The 2019 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report shows that companies have an opportunity to stand out by offering high-quality training to their employees. When you decide to invest in continuous training for your employees, you build a team that’s always learning and improving.

Retaining highly skilled employees means offering continuous opportunities through reskilling, new skilling, and upskilling programs. Employees who don’t have opportunities to grow are more likely to leave for a company that does. For example, one recent study found that 37% of employees would leave if not offered opportunities to develop new skills.

Employee departures can hurt morale within the company, plus it costs more to recruit and train new hires than it does to develop the talent already there. (Hard costs range between 90-200% of that employee’s salary to give you an idea of how financially detrimental turnover can be.)

Changing the dynamics of the company culture, being more diverse and inclusive, and investing in your staff with ample reskill, upskill, and new skill opportunities need to be top priorities. Keep reading to learn about these key terms and why strategic learning and development programs are so key to your organization’s success.

What’s the difference between upskill and reskill? Reskill, upskill, and new skill defined

To ensure employees stay competitive and agile, today’s employers and HR leaders need to constantly evaluate the individual skills and capabilities of their current workforce. According to PwC Global, 77% of current employees want to reskill, upskill, and acquire new skills. They'll go elsewhere if you don’t offer them the learning and development opportunities they want.

So, what is upskilling and reskilling? And how does “new skilling” round them out?


Reskilling means training employees on an entirely new and different set of skills to prepare them for a new role within your company. The need for reskilling also occurs when an employee’s role or position becomes irrelevant. If you have an employee who fits in well and has been an asset to your business, reskilling them to fill necessary gaps rather than hiring someone new is a smart strategy that shows you value your team members.

The 2021 Udemy Trends Report states that 50% of all employees will need to be reskilled by 2025. Reskilling can involve education to obtain a new certification or degree in a different field or area of expertise.


What is upskilling? While reskilling involves a 180° skill and career pivot, upskilling employees is about improving upon existing skills and abilities within the employee’s current area of expertise. Upskilling employees has many benefits, including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Enhanced job satisfaction
  • Higher retention rates
  • Improved Skill Agility®

According to Udemy, in 2020, 38% of employees were upskilled, a 24% increase from 2019. When employees expand their industry and marketplace knowledge, everyone wins. Retaining top talent is a must for businesses today, so providing these opportunities must be at the top of your company’s priority list.

New skilling

Now that we’ve established the difference between upskill and reskill, that leaves new skill. New skilling is like trend forecasting, but for skills. You can build cutting-edge training programs to stay ahead of the curve by identifying the skills your company will need in the future. Then, developing these skills and abilities will help you retain top talent and set you apart.

The significance of upskilling programs

The data paints a compelling picture of why training is so important. According to McKinsey & Company, 87% of organizations are aware that they currently have skills gaps or will have them in a few years without proper reskilling and upskilling programs.

The 2022 Global Digital Sales Index from Salesforce reveals that three out of four employees aren’t up-to-date on digital skills. Moreover, only 28% are even participating in reskilling or upskilling for the future. But the benefits are clear for those who receive access to these programs. That report also says 70% of employees who receive digital training are more engaged at work.

When you provide your employees with valuable training, it will:

  • Give them a reason to stick around
  • Boost their morale and productivity
  • Increase customer satisfaction

Anticipating future needs helps with planning reskilling and upskilling programs and informing content for customized learning courses, skill-specific workshops, or certifications.

Leverage upskilling for the future with Unboxed Training & Technology

From personal lives to professional careers, people live and work differently now. The pandemic highlighted the need for change, adaptability, and learning agility. Though there’s a clear difference between upskill and reskill, they’re both critical in today’s world.

The modern workplace’s future relies on evolving skill sets: technical skills, power skills, upskilling, reskilling, and new skilling. A learning management system, or LMS, is a fantastic way to implement continuous training and upskilling for the future.

At Unboxed Training & Technology, our Spoke® Learning Technology Platform takes the concept of Skill Agility® – the ability to quickly identify and acquire skills in response to changing business needs – and turns it into a collaborative and fun experience. As a result, Spoke® makes gaining new skills engaging, collaborative, and fun.

Organizations that prioritize upskilling employees through a flexible LMS experience:

  • Increased productivity
  • Enhanced job satisfaction
  • Higher retention rates

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we ensure that you experience the same benefits using Spoke®. Contact us today for a free demo of Spoke® and learn how you can use our LMS to implement custom or turn-key training specific to your reskill vs. upskill needs.

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