The Changing face of Skills and Training
article by Diane Shawe M.Ed CEO
In a report conducted by Kelly Global Workforce Index in 2013 over 120,000 respondents from 31 countries across the Americas, EMEA an APAC regions where asked several questions about Skills and Training.
When asked to identify the main motivation for earning new skills or undertaking training, the largest share of employees 57% cited the opportunity for promotion with their current employer. A further 47% cited the opportunity to work in another organisation, and 42% planned to enter a new field of work.
Globally, 60% of worker are either actively seeking further education or training (23%) or considering it (37%). The APAC region stands out as a skilling hotspot, with 69% of those surveyed either considered or seeking further training for a new field.
Across the globe, there are markedly different approaches to the notion of additional training and professional development. The highest rates of planned upskilling are predominantly in developing economies, while the lowest rates tend to be in some of the most prosperous nations.
Russia heads the list for training intensity, with an astonishing 92% planning some form of training. Also high on the list are Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Puerto Rico and Malaysia.
Surprisingly the lowest rates of planned training are in France, Luxembourg, the US and Switzerland.
Among professional and technical employees, those most likely to be actively seeking to upgrade their skills are in Math, Engineering and IT, while the least likely are in Science, Health Care and Education.
For training to be meaningful it needs to be relevant and practical – not “training for training sake”.
When asked to identify the mot desirable means of furhering their skills, the overwhelming preference was for on-the-job experience and training, identified by 70% of respondents, significantly ahead of the next hightest ranked “continued education and training” cited by 58%
The last two decades have radically altered the way skill are acquired and developed. Skill are no longer “front-end loaded” onto a career. Rather they are increasingly embedded as part of lifelong learning and development.
The upgrading and renewal of skills plays a critical role in personal and professional development. It also has a vital role in broader workforce development, which is the cornerstone of organisational efficiency and productivity.
All skills have a finite life, and in industries subject to high rates of technological change and innovation, the lifespan of skills is becoming shorter. Increasingly, new skills will need to be learned and deployed throughout a working life.
It is clear that decisions about training and professional development are now an integral part of the employment equation, and have an important bearing on employee moral, performance and retention.
What Employers can do
- Consider opportunities for training and personal development.
- Help to build a culture of continuous learning so that employees are encouraged to develop and use new skills
- Encourage employees to think about career plans and the type of skills and training they need to stay equipped.
- Consider training as a key element in employee attraction and retention.
- Champion individuals who have devoted time to upskilling so they can become ambassadors for an organisation.
The landscape has changed
The scale and duration of the downturn has forced may employees to look afresh at the whole area of training and professional development – one that was previously guided by employers. Employees now recognise that they cannot solely rely on an employer to direct in this important element of their lives.
A new generation of workers is taking on much greater responsibility for their training and professional development, including the way it is provided and funded.
The global economic shock-waves have unleashed a new orthodoxy and a unforeseen outcomes has a new generation of employees are more independent, globally focused and adaptive. The new challenges for global employers is to understand why the landscape has changed and prudently look beyond the present and where the best skilled workforce will be and what work will look like in 10 or 15 years.