Employers urged to 'prioritise upskilling' to address skills shortage
Employers and employees aren't seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to learning and development, according to a new report, prompting calls to employers to step up their upskilling efforts to fill workforce gaps. Research from Hays and GO1 revealed that 92% of professionals said they always, frequently, or occasionally need to learn new skills at work, with 83% expressing high interest in learning something new. Despite this, only 48% of employers believe their employees are inclined in learning something new, and only 60% of employers believe their staff could apply new skills quickly.
The report also indicated that efforts on learning and development aren't conveyed well to employees, as it found that despite 78% of employers offering resources, only 52% of employees said they received them.
Chris Eigeland, Go1 co-founder, called the situation a "mismatch," as employers are at a loss in identifying and embedding the skills needed for an effective workforce.
"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," Eigeland said.
To address the disconnect, Hays CEO Alistair Cox urged employers to ensure that their employees are aware of the available learning resources to them. They should also be given the right support in the skills development that they need.
"Employers must also ensure they work to identify what skills of the future may be needed and encourage their workers to acquire new skills," Cox said.
The findings come as employers grapple from skills shortages in their workplaces. In New Zealand and Australia, 91% of employers admitted that they are experiencing skills shortage.
"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," said Cox.
How to embed learning in the organisation?
Hays and Go1 offered five suggestions on how employers can integrate learning in the foundations of their organisations. These recommendations include:
- Align learning to business ambitions. Linking training to objectives will make employees more likely to be engaged in the learning process.
- Set learning into the flow of work. Establish a culture of learning by encouraging questions, incentivising knowledge sharing, and creating to-learn lists. Learning opportunities should also be regularly communicated to staff.
- Pay attention to data. Consider including development discussions in quarterly and annual reviews.
- Turn to technology. Existing and emerging tech can also help meet employee learning expectations and deliver upskilling opportunities.
- Train for today, plan for tomorrow. Draw on market knowledge and global insights in developing upskilling opportunities that will cater to future needs of the workforce.