Reskilling in the UK: The Economic Case

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

In a recent Mckinsey report Tera Allas CBE and her colleagues provide several insights for leaders of organisations. The COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in changes to all of our working lives, and with more difficult decisions on the horizon for leaders of SME's and large organisations, the economic case of reskilling becomes even more compelling.


“Effective reskilling tends to bring a productivity uplift of 6 to 12 percent” and the Mckinsey’s analysis suggests that virtually every UK worker needs reskilling, that’s about 30.5 million UK workers (94 percent of today’s workforce) are said to lack the full repertoire of skills to perform well in their roles 10 years from now.


Here are some of the often overlooked reskilling benefits:


Controlling salary costs.

Hiring expert and experienced employees carries can carry a substantial price tag. Often employers looking for expert skills will be competing with others for scarce resources. While more and more people will be joining the job market, organisations have quite specific ideas in what they need to help them achieve their aims. With many organisations struggling to recruit the skills they need. With hired employees being paid 20 percent more than reskilled workers.


Digital Talent Pool

McKinsey’s recent survey of UK executives finds that about 80 percent expect to hire more people in tech and automation roles such as digital customer experience, AI and robotics, cloud computing and cyber security. In the field of health and safety, about 96 percent of executives expect to increase hiring for roles including contact tracing and sanitising.


Avoiding onboarding requirements.

I was staggered to learn new hires on average perform at a lower level for their first two years, however, it makes absolute sense. New employees require inculcation into the workplace, ranging from regulatory compliance to familiarisation with workplace procedures and culture, which all consumes time and effort.


As reskilled workers already have significant knowledge and networks, this can be another clear win.


Tapping into a new pool of diverse talent.

Employers aiming to increase workforce diversity for certain roles may feel that traditional routes are not producing enough suitable candidates, and that they can increase their options by fishing in new talent pools. This could involve reskilling their own employees who are currently in other roles, or taking on promising new employees who are ready to be upskilled.


Learning precious new skills is a powerful source of motivation for employees: skills training is the number-one choice of prospective employees when choosing what makes a great employer. Therefore, investing in your people with the right type of training can helps to increase engagement and productivity.


With examples of organisations creatively embracing this as an opportunity such as, a partnership between the trade body Airlines UK and Cera, the social care company to reskill 1000 cabin crew in the role of carers.


This really is a fantastically timed report.


Much thanks to Tera Allas, her co-authors and the other contributors and to read the full report visit:


The Economic Case for Reskilling in the UK: How employers can thrive by boosting workers skills – Mckinsey Report November 2020