• SkillEnable

The difference between UPSKILL AND RESKILL

Updated: May 6

Upskill and reskill. These two words are so often used interchangeably that sometimes we don’t realise the difference between the two. Ever wondered what these words mean? Or when is the time either to upskill or reskill? This piece of writing will help you gain some clarity.

Let us first begin with a simple definition.


Reskilling is a form of training, for those who believe that they have the capability to learn a new skill. It can also help in completely changing your job role. When one decides to “reskill”, it’s primarily because they feel their skills are not competitive enough. However, it’s important to remember the prefix “re” in the word “Reskill”.

  • When you decide to reskill, you decide to add new skills to your CV. This will help more in the position that you are already standing in.

  • Reskilling does not mean brushing up pre-existing skills. It actually means, adding new skills to be able to secure a better job role.

For example, an office clerk who has a fixed job may look to re-skill to be able to secure a better job in that firm or outside of it. The purpose of him reskilling could be to get a better job! So he might focus on reskilling himself under hospitality, for example.

Let’s take another example to make sure that this concept is clear.

A web developer who wants to learn something which is slightly different from his existing job role would say that he is ‘reskilling’ himself. If he has a good analytical bent of mind, he might learn data science and land a job as a data scientist!

Now let’s move on to the next word:


Upskilling can be defined as a process of providing training to those employees who are in the need of learning something new. Here the prefix ‘up’ places an important role.

The sole meaning of this word is to uplift something, to advance in something, to increase something. Upskilling therefore means to “brush up” the already existing skills in such a way that helps you to uplift your bag of skills.

Therefore those who learn new skills to improve their current performance without changing their position or career path say that they are upskilling.

Let’s take the same example in this situation too -

A web developer would want to learn some advanced skills in web developing itself to improve his position in the same field.

Therefore an important thing to note here is that in Upskill you learn new skills to improve your current performance in a specific field only.

However in reskilling you learn new skills to improve your currents performance. This process does not necessarily have to be related to a specific field. You can learn new skills from a completely different field with the intention to change your job role.

Now let us move to the most frequently asked question.

How to know when to upskill or reskill?

There is only one simple answer to these complex questions!

Addressing Skills Gaps

Skills gaps are the sole purpose for reskilling or upskilling. Before you decide to choose either of the paths, you should consider the most important factor of filling the skill gap.

When you decide to change something, you intend to bring in a better result, in this case a better job role and a better performance graph.

Therefore before you dive into the process, it is important that you analyse the market to see whether upskilling in the same field would be beneficial enough! You need to make sure that your steps are enough to bridge the skill gap.

Factors one must consider before adding a new skill (for upskilling or reskilling)

1.Being aware

– One of the most important aspects to upskill or re skill is to be aware of what is happening around you. One must be aware of those jobs which might be needed in the future. This way not only will you be able to join the industry but also brigade the skill gap.


– It is very important to assess yourself. You must check where you stand. Self assessment is the key to fulfill the skill gap. A genuine assessment points out the gaps between existing and anticipated skills.


– Once you are aware of the situation around you, once you know which skills can actually help bridge the gap, you can then strategise accordingly. Your strategy must include a way to provide training and development activities within the right time frame.

Once you are able to choose the right path to rectify the skill gap, you will automatically understand which way to go - UPSKILLING or RESKILLING.

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