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Building the future

Qualification on the front line

Back Skilling & Reskilling

Qualification on the front line

Rumos Jorge Lopes Hor
Jorge Lopes 5 minutes Share

The global pandemic took the world by surprise. From one moment to the next, the way we live and work changed significantly. In the business context, these transformations have forced companies to quickly realize the need for further digitalization, in order to streamline processes and business continuity.

As a consequence of this need, now, more than ever, the new tech jobs are growing at a challenging pace. Thus, the training market must follow the trends of this new reality, enabling a greater capacity to optimize tasks, and even to adapt to new job functions

The technological development and the rising pace of digital transformation have also been responsible for widening the gap between the needs of the companies and the digital skills of their employees, turning the importance of reskilling evermore clear. Identifying training needs on a case-by-case basis is an essential process for the successful empowerment of teams within organizations. Creating a learning culture is even an instrumental decision, and an excellent business decision, especially in financially challenging times.

In addition to the advantages that this investment in training brings to companies, there are also several more positive aspects that are brought up, especially regarding the employees:

  • Increased confidence in using technology and implementing change;
  • Greater contribution of ideas for process design;
  • Easier and more creative problem solving;
  • Greater satisfaction with the job and the employer. With training we get more skilled, versatile and satisfied workers.

The IT Training.

As mentioned before, the digital transformation implies an extremely demanding path. New technologies will require more professional workers to master the new digital tools, so in order for companies to prepare for the future, they must be one step ahead.

In this same context, among the main priorities reported by Portuguese companies for the year 2021 are the technological areas of Programming, Big Data, Networks and Systems, those related to Cloud Computing, and especially the development of skills in Cybersecurity.1

Although information technology is the focus of the vast majority of companies at the moment, continuously increasing investment in more and better technology is of little use to organizations if they don't know how to take advantage of it. It is, therefore, necessary to combine the ongoing commitment to technological innovation with an equally continuous commitment to developing the skills of IT teams, in order to ensure the effective use of these technologies.

Particularly in this area, technical certifications are of major importance. To obtain them, the candidate has to demonstrate not only his understanding of theoretical technical concepts, but also, in most cases, his skills in the practical use of this knowledge in a real or simulated environment.

These certifications are instrumental in ensuring a professional's qualifications. In fact, the vast majority of the recruitment teams admit that certifications are one of their criteria for choosing a candidate, because they provide impartial proof of a candidate's technical skills, while at the same time demonstrating that candidate's commitment to professional development.1

But the value of certification goes beyond individual benefits or recruitment facilitation, since it extends to the organizations in which certified professionals work. Specifically, because they are more responsive to the company's skills needs, more productive, more effective in meeting customer requirements, take less time to solve problems, and complete projects more quickly. In addition to adding value and credibility to the employee, when combined with training, certification enhances training results by helping to eliminate training gaps, retaining knowledge, and improving the overall effectiveness of the training.

Consequently, constant skills development is the best way to ensure persistent improvement in the performance of IT operations, helping professionals meet some of their organization’s biggest challenges: efficiency, risk mitigation, agility and productivity.

Analysis and implementation of training plans.

Analyzing the current state of the organization is essential for implementing a training plan and detecting the needs of the company and employees. When companies want certain skills that their employees do not have, it is up to the Human Resources, or Learning and Development (L&D) managers, to conduct a skills analysis. This analysis should take into account not only the skills gaps, but also what are the company's goals, what is the future of work trends, and what skills currently already exist within the company. From the identification of the skills gap, it’s possible to define strategies and structure continuous feedbacks, with a view to improving the team's capabilities.

In parallel, with the study "What will the development of professional skills look like in 2021?" carried out by Rumos, we are able to take the following conclusions: the companies Training Plan is mostly elaborated (57%) based on a previous survey of training needs. But the proposal for the development of employee skills is also largely made through suggestions from managers (48%) and by the professionals themselves (45%).

Having a skilled and functional team is essential to meet the challenges and to conduct a successful digital transformation process.

The investment in training.

Nowadays, the growing awareness of the importance of employee qualification has made organizations more focused on aligning training plans with their strategy and investment decisions.

Although investments in training fell in 2020, due to the economic impact of the pandemic and its consequential uncertainty about the future, there was some recovery and willingness to invest by companies. In Portugal, the survey conducted by Rumos showed that 63% of respondents intend to maintain or increase their investment in training in 2021, while 20% confirm a reduction in investment compared to the previous year. However most employing companies expect to obtain a return on investment in the qualification of their employees within one year, and this goal is often achieved.

The Challenges and future of training.

Among the main training objectives, two stand out. The first directly linked to business (reducing the skills gap and boosting the organization's growth) and the second to employee’s well-being (improving employee engagement and job satisfaction).

On the business side, training can serve other purposes other than just filling qualification gaps, such as helping to achieve business goals, generate profits, and reduce costs, although it doesn’t receive much credit from these results. Still, and even in a period of economic crisis like the one we're going through, most organizations recognize the importance in investing in their human capital.

From the employee’s point of view, the perception of the impact of training is equally positive: they highlight improvements in the quality of their work, recognize a faster pace when doing their tasks and feel more motivated and become more adaptable. Furthermore, these investments in training and development increase talent retention and happiness levels at work and in the tasks they perform.

However, if the importance and impact of professional training is so globally accepted, both by organizations and by individual professionals, why is it still so difficult to design and implement effective training plans? The main obstacle is lack of time: the daily workload does not allow having the availability to regularly participate in training 2.  Even with the boost given in 2020 to new training formats (remote, asynchronous or synchronous), with obvious savings in travel times, the lack of time is still the main reason why training doesn’t happen. Also, very relevant to the subject are the budget issues2 and the difficulty for training managers to demonstrate the benefits and ROI of training to their superiors2.

There is, however, a certainty: the return of investment in training is neither abstract nor theoretical: training has a real and widespread impact on the productivity of the various teams and, consequently, on the ability of organizations to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to business and market requirements.

With all this insight, the training market must continue to follow the trends of this “new normal”, of digitalization, flexible schedules, geographical decentralization and consequent democratization of access to learning.

After more than a year of pandemic, we are now able to realize that we will not take a step back: many of the changes are here to stay and the importance of training employees to ensure the resilience and prosperity of individuals and organizations has become notorious. It is, and will increasingly be, essential that investment in human capital is at the forefront of companies' strategic vision.

  1. Rumos Study “What will the development of professional skills look like in 2021?”
  2. Udemy 2021 Trends Report.


Jorge Lopes

General Director at Rumos Formação



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