Skill Up

Workers around the globe think it’s important to learn new skills to stay competitive

A new survey from Emeritus reveals workers would prefer jobs with employers that invest in their learning

Eighty percent (80%) of workers surveyed across the globe say learning new skills will help them “stand out in the job market,” according to the 2023 Global Workplace Skills Study from the ed-tech company Emeritus.

Charlie Schilling, president of the enterprise business and workforce development, Emeritus

“It’s a time of great anxiety in the workforce and workers are now seeking out opportunities or, importantly, staying with opportunities that they perceive will be more stable. Part of the new definition of stability is those companies are always teaching employees how to do something new,” notes Charlie Schilling, president of enterprise business and workforce development, Emeritus.

“If employers want to be employers of choice, they’re being even more progressive on this front than I think they were certainly pre-pandemic, but even through the course of the pandemic.”

Schilling continues, “Data suggests that two thirds of hiring managers agree that investing in this type of professional education is critical for employee development.”

He adds, “Benefits for the employers are clear in that deploying these programs can reduce burnout, boost employee engagement, and, hopefully, drive more job satisfaction.”

Among the U.S. findings:

  • 75% feel the need to develop certain skills to succeed in their current field
  • 69% would be more loyal to their employer if they invested in their continued education
  • 43% are concerned that technology will replace them if they do not continue to develop their skillset
  • 36% are struggling to keep up with accelerated trends in their industry

Among the global findings:         

  • 74% would choose a job with an employer that invested in their education over one that did not make that investment
  • 53% fear being replaced by technology if they don’t continue developing new skills
  • 67% of hiring managers view professional education as crucial for employee development
  • 69% of hiring managers say employers should hire for skills rather than degrees alone
  • Between May 2020 and January 2023, interest in fully online learning programs increased by 8.5% – while interest in hybrid learning programs rose 17%

Schilling reiterates, “It is a big time of anxiety in the market that is true for a different reason now where we sit in 2023 than it was in ‘22 or ‘21. It’s now anxiety driven by the pace of technological change, not by the pandemic. That increases the onus on employees and employers to continue developing skills.”

He notes, “For individual participants or learners the main question on their mind is their ability to maintain and grow their earning power over time. They absolutely believe that this a way for them to achieve better economic outcomes over time and remain relevant in the workforce.”

Emeritus collaborates with more than 80 universities around the world to provide education to individuals, companies, and governments to close skills gaps.

The third annual survey gathered responses from 6,600 people – ages 21 to mid-60s – in 18 countries on five continents. More than 2,000 respondents are from the U.S.

Check here for the complete findings of the 2023 Global Workplace Skills Study.