Reskilling Employees Within IT and Telecommunications

Technology has developed so rapidly within the IT and telecommunications industries that the European Commission has called it “the new industrial revolution,” which has created a demand for advanced digital skill sets.[1]

Within any industry involving technology, there are several different job titles and roles that require a dynamic pool of candidates including not only those with various levels of expertise,  but with various interests too.[2] Looking at just the Internet of Things alone, an influx of job opportunities will require a widened skill set in order for workers to meet industry needs, according to Tech Genix. [3]

“Researchers estimate that within two years from now, a whopping 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be connected. This surge in the number of IoT devices in use will translate into a significant increase in the number of IoT jobs as well. Clearly, a job in IoT can pay well because of the rising demand, but candidates will require a combination of skills to ensure a promising IoT career.”[3]

“Industry professionals in the tech sector should try to stay abreast of the latest developments in IoT because there are concrete chances of a future integration of their skills with IoT. If they ignore it, they could risk getting left behind in their IoT career.”

When considering the need for advanced tech skills, it’s important to note that the desired skills are multidimensional. According to Field Engineer, future skills within tech will include both hard and soft skills.

“Hard skills include particular specific knowledge and abilities. In contrast, soft skills are based on thinking and behavior. In demand, the hard skills of today include UX design, artificial intelligence, people management, scientific computing, cyber security and social media marketing.”[4]

“Soft skills are more abstract such as creativity, persuasion, adaptability and collaborating. Creativity is one of the most crucial soft skills of today. This is certainly tied to the concept of innovation.”

Reskilling in IT and Telecommunications 

The need for advanced tech skills spans across most industries. The telecommunications and IT industries are no exception, with countless jobs that will require specially skilled candidates, according to ITU News.

“Globally, some 10 million jobs requiring advanced digital skills, such as data science, coding, cybersecurity, Internet of Things and mobile app development, are going unfilled because employers cannot find staff with the requisite skills. That’s why a growing number of countries and organizations have included digital skills training as part of their overall strategy to grow their national digital economies.”[1]

In many industries, filling roles tends to be a matter of finding the right person with the right education and experience. But, for roles in IT and telecommunications, technologies like data analysis and cloud computing are developing at a mile a minute. So much so, that finding someone fully qualified from the outside, based on education and ability to immediately adjust to company standards, would be almost impossible.

Instead, reskilling employees from within, rather than recruiting from without, may be the best means for companies to keep up with constantly evolving technology. According to NASSCOM, “Reskilling and upskilling has become topmost priority for employee retention so every employee knows today if they don’t upskill sooner or later they are going to be redundant. It is also critical for companies also to offer opportunities for their employees to be reskilled.”[5] 

A recent EY report on Canadian telecommunications outlines the industry outlook on training people for jobs. It says, “Workforce issues rank as a low priority for operators. EY industry research finds that operators recognize the importance of talent and new digital skills, but they don’t necessarily consider it a top strategic priority.”[6]

EY’s industry research also says reskilling is more important than external hiring and that external hires should be balanced with internal reskilling. It’s also important that telecom companies “clearly understand factors required to attract and retain in-demand skills in a tightening labour market [and] build an environment of change readiness and technology adoption.”

It’s a fact of life that IT and telecommunications will inevitably advance their  technology. Employers are likely to find that their best coping mechanism to address the emergence of advanced IT and telecommunications applications is to work with and train the team they already have.


Cited works
[1] “Digital Skills for a New Economy: What’s Needed Now?” ITU News. September 3, 2018. Accessed October 1, 2019.
[2] Doyle, Alison. “Important Skills for Information Technology (IT) Jobs.” The Balance Careers. May 22, 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.
[3]“Top 10 Skills You Need for a High-Paying IoT Career.” TechGeni. October 22, 2018. Accessed October 2, 2019.
[4] “Trending In-Demand Skills for Telecom Industry.” Field Engineer. July 6, 2019. Accessed October 5, 2019.
[5] “Reskilling of Employees More Important to IT Industry: NASSCOM.” ET Telecom. July 20, 2017. Accessed October 5, 2019.
[6] “Top Risks in Telecommunications 2019 Canada.” EY. Accessed October 4, 2019.$FILE/EY-Top-risks-in-telecommunications-2019-Canada.pdf