This post was authored by Haley Spanier, Dunham's Marketing Communications Associate. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858) 964 - 0500. Hold us to higher standards.

It is becoming more and more common for employers to implement strategies for enhancing the skills of their employees in order to keep up with changing business environments. This is often done through upskilling and reskilling.

What is Upskilling?

Upskilling is when a workplace teaches an employee additional skills to expand their capabilities, or when an employee enhances their skills on their own to advance forward in their position. Upskilling allows employees to adapt to changes in their workplace industry, for example, educating themselves on a new type of technology arising in the business.

What is Reskilling?

Upskilling is the process of expanding on existing skillsets in a position. Similarly, reskilling is when an employee learns a new set of skills so that they can do a different job, or when an employer retrains an employee to take on a new role.

Why is Upskilling Important to Financial Services?

The US Chamber Foundation shows that 78% of respondents in their survey “acknowledged the need to overhaul their hiring practices to make this shift to focus on competencies” and skills rather than degrees. Therefore, acquiring and maintaining the appropriate skills for a position could be one of the most important factors for existing and future employees.

Upskilling allows employees to adapt to changing business environments, potentially leverage themselves into higher-paid positions, and make personal educational advancements. It additionally allows employers to invest more efforts into their existing employees, rather than hiring new employees, which often takes more time and resources. This may also create a more positive and productive work environment.

However, according to a study by PwC, only “17% of financial services CEOs say their organization has made significant progress in areas such as improving worker’s and leaders’ knowledge of technology and its implications,” which is 3% less than the full CEO sample. Additionally, “nearly one-fourth of AWM [asset and wealth managers] executives concede that they’ve made no progress at starting an upskilling programme.”

What is Upskilling and How can it be Used in Financial Services?

What Are Upskilling Opportunities within the Financial Services Sector?

Upskilling can be anything from attending a webinar or conference, or taking a course or workshop. There are often industry conferences (in-person and virtual) for financial advisors that feature speakers who discuss important up-and-coming topics. For example, financial advisor Michael Kitces lists some must-attend conferences of 2021 on his blog. Collaboration between employees is another common way to promote upskilling, as it allows employees in different positions to learn from one another.

Additionally, there are many online services that focus on refining skillsets and learning helpful topics. Some popular websites are:

  • Google Skillshop & Google Analytics Academy: Google offers free online courses that provide certification in many different areas of the Google Suite. This includes Google Ads and Google Analytics.
  • Udemy: Udemy is a service with thousands of online video courses focusing on advancing skills in development, marketing, software, and more. Individual courses can be purchased, or employers can give employees access through a business account.
  • LinkedIn Learning: These video lessons from knowledgeable speakers span anywhere from 30 minutes to hours of information. A LinkedIn Learning account gives employees access to videos of all different topics, from customer service, to project management, to leadership, to marketing and sales.
  • Coursera: Coursera collaborates with universities and companies and is focused on providing courses that build skills, and provide certificates and even degrees. They also provide on-demand training and development programs for upskilling organizations.

These services offer both free and paid courses that can be used to expand on a variety different topics. We’ll now explore some topics that may be relevant for financial advisors seeking to begin an upskilling endeavor.

Essential Skills for Financial Advisors

Upskilling can occur both in technical subject matters, such as digital marketing, data analytics, development, and programs such as Google, Excel and Adobe. It can also take place in the form of personal development, such as sales and communication skills, decision making, leadership, and empathy in the workplace. Some training areas that may be beneficial for financial advisors include:

  • Advertising and Branding
  • CRM Software
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Social Selling
  • Teams and Collaboration

It’s never too late to take time to refine a skillset, or learn an entirely new skill that will be beneficial for you personally, or your workplace. As the business world continues to evolve, it’s essential to gain skills that keep you up-to-date with your clients’ needs.

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