randstad US study reveals disconnect between employers and employees in upskilling outlook.

82 percent of employees say lifelong learning is important, but nearly 40 percent report their employers don’t provide for upskilling opportunities

ATLANTA – October 10, 2017 – Randstad US today announced the findings from its quarterly Randstad Workmonitor survey (Q3 2017). According to the survey data, there exists a discrepancy between employers’ and employees’ attitudes toward upskilling. While over 80 percent of employees feel they have a responsibility to upskill, many U.S. employers and employees are not taking action for upskilling opportunities in the workplace. In fact, over a third of U.S. employees report they have done nothing to upskill in the past 12 months, where upskilling is defined as attending workshops, completing online courses, receiving consultation from a specialist, participating in personal coaching sessions or pursuing further education.

the upskilling disconnect.

When asked to consider a variety of types of upskilling opportunities over the last 12 months, survey respondents revealed:

  • 67 percent of U.S. employees say they feel they need more training and skills to stay up-to-date. 
  • Nearly 40 percent of U.S. employees say their employers have not offered and paid for anything related to upskilling. 
  • 40 percent of U.S. employees say they wouldn’t arrange for or pay out of their own pockets to upskill themselves. 

value of skills balance.

The study also explored the types of skills employees seek to improve and revealed that prioritizing personal versus vocational skills runs along a generational divide:

  • 66 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds feel they need to strengthen their personal skills. 
  • Only 28 percent of those 45 years and older said they needed to boost their personal skills, with 70 percent reporting vocational upskilling was critical to their development. 

“There are many things companies can do to help their employees’ upskill and prepare for jobs of the future. It is in a company’s best interest to help their people grow in their profession or into leadership roles, as this can offset the severe skills gap happening in the market and increase employee engagement and retention,” said Michelle Prince, SVP, global head of learning and development, Randstad. “Employees who are given opportunities to continually advance their professional proficiency are what will keep a company relevant and stay ahead of the competition.”

Soft skills are rapidly becoming a more valuable skill in the U.S. workforce, particularly for millennials. This is especially true with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Workers will need to continually develop and update their skills in order to keep pace with the new efficiencies that technology provides – honing critical skills, like leadership, creativity, problem-solving and collaboration, which machines cannot replace.

“People are realizing there's more to being a good worker than knowing how to do your job. Learning what is needed for the future, optimizing the tools your company provides and staying current on the industry are important to avoid becoming obsolete at work. You also have to be able to apply that in the context of being an effective communicator and collaborator when working with others,” said Prince. “Upskilling efforts therefore require a strategic combination of both technical understanding and the human element to be effective. Thanks to online learning options like study.com, Mind Tools, Coursera, Degreed, edX, ITPro.tv, Udacity, Udemy, and access to MOOCs from many universities there are free and low-cost learning opportunities that enable development of technical and soft skills.”

about the workmonitor survey.

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in the Netherlands in 2003, then in Germany, and now covers 33 countries around the world. The last country to join was Portugal, in 2014. The study encompasses Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year. Conducted online with a rotating set of themed questions among employees aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per country. The Survey Sampling International (SSI) panel is used for sampling purposes. The third survey of 2017 was conducted from July 18 till August 2, 2017. Respondents had an option to select multiple answers throughout the survey.

about randstad.

Randstad North America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, a € 20.7 billion global provider of HR services. Through its unique approach of delivering HR innovation with human interaction at the center, Randstad secures and manages a workforce of more than 100,000 people for thousands of clients each week. As a trusted partner in the post-digital world of talent, Randstad advances the careers and business success of candidates and clients through a combination of the best of high-tech and high-touch processes. Employing over 6,500 recruiting experts through approximately 1,100 offices and client-dedicated locations, Randstad North America provides outsourcing, staffing, consulting and workforce solutions within the areas of engineering, finance and accounting, healthcare, human resources, IT, legal, life sciences, manufacturing and logistics, office and administration and sales and marketing. Learn more at www.randstadusa.com.

additional media contact.

Sarah Babbitt