Skills shortage fail: Employers aren't offering the upskilling staff require

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•    82% of employers are concerned about skills shortages within their organisation 
•    92% of professionals say their role requires them to learn new skills 
•    But less than half (48%) say the learning provided by their employer suits their needs 

New research suggests employers are failing to provide the upskilling their staff require to perform their jobs effectively – thereby missing an opportunity to reduce the skills gap.
That’s according to the Learning Mindset Report, produced by recruitment and workforce solutions specialists Hays and on-demand training provider Go1.
Together, Hays and Go1 surveyed more than 5,000 organisations and 15,000 professionals. They found less than half (48%) of professionals surveyed believe the learning resources provided by their employer allow them to upskill as their role demands – yet 60% of employers believe their learning resources are adequate. 

Importance of learning new skills

When asked how frequently their role requires them to learn new skills, 92% of professionals said they always, frequently or occasionally need to learn new skills. Only 8% either rarely or never require new skills.
Meanwhile, 42% of workers said their employer doesn’t have a clear development plan in place involving specific learning, with another 16% unsure. This is despite 82% of employers admitting they are worried about skills shortages.
In a separate survey, the Hays Salary Guide found 91% of employers in Australia are experiencing a skills shortage. According to Hays, regular upskilling can help employers fill skills gaps and ensure staff develop the competencies required to continue to perform their job effectively in our constantly evolving world of work.

Opinions between employers and employees differ

The survey revealed that 83% of professionals are highly interested in learning new skills, whereas only 48% of employers believe their employees are so inclined. Meanwhile, 81% of professionals believe they apply new skills quickly, compared to 60% of employers.
Only half (52%) of professionals said they received learning resources from their employer. Yet 78% of employers said they provide employees with learning resources.
Commenting on the findings, Alistair Cox, Hays CEO, said, “Organisations need to ensure that their workers know what learning resources are available to them and provide the right level of support in areas of skills development that are needed. Employers must also ensure they work to identify what skills of the future may be needed and encourage their workers to acquire new skills.
“Learning is in the best interests of both parties. Organisations need to prioritise upskilling to fill skills gaps and workers need to constantly learn to make sure their skillset remains relevant and future-proofs their career.
Chris Eigeland, Go1 Co-Founder, said, “Even with the best of intentions, many employers seem at a loss to identify and embed the skills needed for an effective workforce. This has resulted in a mismatch between the skills that employers need and the skills that workers actually have. Organisations are also weighed down by the challenge of engaging employees in learning. Even employers who recognise the importance of upskilling are struggling to find learning content that meets the full spectrum of their learners’ needs.

5 ways to embed learning in your organisation

To reconnect with employees on learning expectations, experiences and outcomes, Hays and Go1 suggest:

1. Align learning to business ambitions: 

Research from McKinsey shows just 40% of executives believe their learning and business strategies are aligned. By linking training to objectives, employees see the relevancy and are more likely to engage in the learning process. Further, a skills mapping exercise allows you to identify current strengths and weaknesses, then design and deploy learning to match business needs. But make sure you allow room for agile learning opportunities, so your workforces’ skills can adapt quickly to change.

2. Set learning into the flow of work:

Create a culture of learning, such as by encouraging staff to ask questions, incentivising knowledge sharing and creating to-learn lists alongside to-do lists. Regularly communicate learning opportunities and give employees the time to upskill. Consider assigning staff stretch opportunities or tasks slightly outside their current proficiencies. While it will take them longer to complete the task, they will learn, and retain, new skills.

3. Pay attention to data:

When implementing a new learning program, determine the metrics that point towards success, review them regularly and improve processes as appropriate. Consider including development discussions in your quarterly or annual reviews.

4. Turn to technology:

Existing and emerging technology can help meet employee learning expectations and deliver upskilling opportunities. Chatbots, for example, can send timely prompts to remind staff to complete learning sessions or even reinforce learning with a series of quickfire questions. Virtual spaces, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, can help foster mentoring programs across borders. And while it is an emerging option, the metaverse could help facilitate learning opportunities in future. 

5. Train for today, plan for tomorrow:

Many organisations offer training that meets the needs of today – but successful upskilling should also consider the technical, digital and soft skills your workforce will require in the future. Draw on market knowledge, global insights and key indicators to guide your upskilling and create development pipelines to ensure you have the right talent in the right place when needed.

About Hays and Go1

Hays formed a global partnership with Go1 in 2019 to offer learning to organisations through its free online platform, Thrive. During the last 18 months, Hays’ inhouse learning platform has delivered 29 million minutes of learning.
This research was conducted across 26 countries in September. We surveyed 15,108 professionals and 5,360 hiring managers about their attitude, aptitude and availability to learn new skills.
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For further information please contact Kathryn Crowden at kathryn.crowden@hays.com.au or Clare Zacka at clare.zacka@hays.com.au.

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