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Striking Balance Between Internal Upskilling vs. External Hiring

In business, scale, growth, and revenue serve as indispensable markers that offer vital insights into an organisation’s overall health and performance. These metrics reflect the organisation’s ability to expand its operations, increase market share, and generate income. As businesses grapple with the pivotal decision of prioritising upskilling their current workforce or pursuing external hiring to meet tech talent needs, striking a harmonious balance between these strategies becomes paramount. This article delves into the merits and challenges of both approaches, underscoring the importance of a customised and balanced strategy that aligns with the organisation’s unique context.

The Advantages of Upskilling

Upskilling, which involves enhancing the skills of current employees to meet evolving demands, presents numerous compelling advantages. For instance, upskilling is cost-effective. It minimises recruitment, onboarding, and induction expenses, with studies showing that replacing an employee can cost up to twice their annual salary.  Upskilled employees seamlessly integrate with the company’s culture, promoting stability. Upskilling opportunities bolster morale, leading to higher retention rates and a more committed workforce while preserving institutional knowledge, a priceless asset for business continuity.

Challenges of Upskilling: 

Despite its merits, upskilling comes with challenges. It demands a significant time investment, making it less suitable for organisations needing rapid skill acquisition. Additionally, some employees may struggle to adapt due to aptitude or interest gaps, potentially creating skill deficiencies.

The Hiring Approach

Conversely, external hiring introduces fresh talent with immediate expertise. Such hires bring new perspectives, ensuring competitiveness in a fast-evolving tech landscape. They offer a rapid solution to skill acquisition needs and infuse diverse experiences, fostering innovation and well-rounded problem-solving.

Challenges of Hiring

However, hiring carries its own set of challenges, primarily financial costs related to recruitment, bonuses, and potentially higher salaries. Cultural integration may also pose hurdles, as external hires may need time to align with the company’s culture.

A successful tech talent strategy hinges on achieving a harmonious blend of upskilling and hiring. Begin with a workforce skill assessment to identify areas where upskilling can efficiently address gaps. Evaluate the urgency of roles; external hiring may be optimal for positions requiring immediate expertise. Consider the long-term benefits of upskilling, fostering a culture of continuous learning and retaining dedicated employees. A hybrid approach, combining both strategies, can offer the best of both worlds.


The choice between upskilling and hiring demands a nuanced understanding of an organisation’s objectives, timeline, budget, and workforce capabilities. Crafting a balanced strategy enables companies to navigate the evolving tech landscape, ensuring they remain innovative, competitive, and well-prepared for industry demands. In essence, success lies not in a rigid either-or approach but in a thoughtfully tailored blend of upskilling and hiring that aligns with each organisation’s unique needs and aspirations.

At The FutureList, we understand the importance of building a strong tech team that aligns with your specific goals and requirements. Our dedicated team of experts and talent partners are here to provide personalised advisory sessions to assist you in assembling a top-notch tech team through navigating the complexities of talent acquisition and creating a dynamic team that drives your organisation’s success. Don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule an advisory call here.

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