The upskilling dilemma

Most workers believe it is their job to keep their skills up to date, but few are taking the steps to do so, according to a recent report featured by SHRM Oct. 4. 

The report comes from Naperville, Ill.-based DeVry University, which surveyed 1,515 U.S. workers regarding their upskilling habits and preferences. 

Although nearly 8 in 10 employers say they offer paid upskilling opportunities, they estimate only half of workers use them. This is backed by employees' survey responses: 84 percent of workers say they are responsible for their own upskilling, but 40 percent say they do not have time during the workday to take advantage of opportunities offered by their employers. Plus, 35 percent say family and other priorities take priority over learning and development time. 

It's not that these programs are useless; 96 percent of workers who take advantage of employers' upskilling opportunities see a positive impact. More than half say they enjoy learning new skills, while 49 percent say upskilling programs improve their productivity. 

But there is a disconnect on the sorts of upskilling workers and employers want to see. Workers are more interested in learning hard skills like data analytics, AI and digital marketing, while employers prioritize critical thinking, leadership and innovation. 

Employers can help close the gap by creating shorter, customizable upskilling opportunities that zero in on the skills workers want, according to the report. 

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