Six reasons to upgrade your skills while working abroad

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Published on 2024-02-07 at 12:00 by Lama
We live in a fast-paced world, and the workplace seems to be moving at an even faster pace. Outside of keeping up with the high demands of day-to-day tasks, you might also find yourself having to keep up with a range of different skills and requirements. In today's ever-evolving and highly connected world, we see a constant emergence of new ways to do things, new information, and new work methods.

As an expat working abroad, pairing this with a completely new environment and country might seem a little overwhelming at first. Don't worry, though; there's an easy and attainable way to keep yourself from falling too far behind: upgrading your skills. 

What is upskilling?

Upgrading your skills, or upskilling, is the process of seeking new information and developing a deeper knowledge of specific subjects rather than waiting to learn on the job. It provides you the opportunity to both refine your existing skills as well as gain new ones. There are a number of different reasons that you should consider upskilling while working abroad. Whether you're already working in a different country or are getting ready to move, we've highlighted some of the biggest benefits upgrading your skills can offer. 

Adapt to the local market

If you've already landed a job abroad, you were probably hired because the employer was impressed by your current expertise. While that's a very positive note to start on, it's important to keep in mind that they might be doing things a little differently than you're used to. You might not necessarily need to acquire new skills for this one, but rather sharpen and add to your existing skills. Working in a new company and market means there might be differences in communication or even specific processes you might not have used before. Strategic thinking, business influence, and organizational acumen are recommended skills that can help you settle into your new environment seamlessly. With these 3 in your pocket, you'll be able to navigate your new workplace in a breeze.

Increased confidence and trust in the office

Coming into a completely new work environment can be nerve-wracking for anyone, regardless of how much experience you already have. A great way to overcome this is to invest your time into upskilling. Learning and developing new skills which can support the work you do can encourage increased confidence in yourself. Choosing new skills that are relevant to your role can even help you take on new tasks and put you in a position where you are seen as an asset to the organization. Upgrading your skills when it comes to your specific industry and any new tools and technologies out there will help you feel a lot more competent in your job. This reflects in your overall attitude and will help you gain more trust among your colleagues. For example, if you work in digital marketing, it would be worth looking into the recent more niche trends within content marketing, brand development and customer insight. Being able to sharpen your skills under the wide umbrella of marketing will help you take on tasks with a whole new confidence.

Potential to increase your salary

A lot of factors go into the decision to move abroad for work, from craving a change of scenery to advancing careers or the need to be exposed to new challenges. Another common reason people choose to seek work outside of their home country is to improve their financial situation. If that resonates with you, upskilling is definitely something you should be looking into. Acquiring in-demand skills that aren't usually picked up on the job will give you that extra boost and justify a higher salary. In fact, a study on upskilling statistics by Gallup has shown that individuals who actively pursue learning new skills tend to get a salary increase of 8.6% higher than their colleagues who have not. So, if making more money is something you're after, upgrading your skills and adding new ones to your portfolio is the way to go.

Beat the competition

People have been relocating for work for many years, and with specific countries booming in terms of business development, this shows no signs of slowing down. This naturally creates a crowded and competitive workspace where you'll need to stand out in order to get ahead. Specifically, in countries that are highly attractive to the expat community, you'll find individuals from different backgrounds and varying levels of experience whom you'll be up against. Looking into these different skill sets and setting out to add them on top of your own will help you stand out from the crowd of fellow expats by providing what they offer and more. Even if you're in a situation that's not too competitive, taking on a new set of relevant skills can help you progress your career faster than your peers. Employers are always looking for people who are in the know when it comes to the newest developments and have fresh ideas that can contribute to the company's success. Keep yourself updated in order to stay on top!

Better career opportunities

Some of you may have just started working somewhere new or haven't even made the move yet. That shouldn't stop you from thinking ahead! If you've chosen to work abroad, chances are that you're looking for an opportunity to progress your career significantly. The experience you gain from your current job can help with a steady advancement, but taking the time to delve into new skills can turn that into a steeper step up the ladder. Adding new skills to your qualifications that complement what you do can open doors to new opportunities where you can broaden your role and responsibilities. Even if you're not considering changing your core career path, you may find yourself in a position where, in order to move up, you need to move on. Ensuring that you keep yourself relevant and up to date with all the new developments in your field will help you land a new, and hopefully better, job in the future. If you're in the field of finance, for example, investing in some FinTech courses will keep you relevant to our digital world.

Speak the same language

This doesn't only apply to being on the same page when it comes to how to conduct your day-to-day tasks. While the company you work for probably doesn't require that you know the language spoken in the country you're in, it's definitely an asset worth going after. Outside of work-specific skills, learning a new language (whether it's the local language or that of any country you do business with) will give you an added edge over others. Employers will naturally tend to favor those who are able to communicate on a broader level and will give you the opportunity to take on more at work. Instead of hiring two different people to cater to two different languages, having one person who is able to do both allows for more responsibility and could lead to a better position.

As someone working abroad, upgrading your skills comes with a whole range of perks that will help you make the move worthwhile. From online courses to in-person training and workshops, refining or acquiring new qualifications has never been more accessible. You can either invest your own money into upskilling or even check in with your employer to see if the company allocates a budget for employee development. Either way, you will always be in a position to reap the benefits of choosing to continue learning.