The skills gap is growing and companies need to invest in upskilling, new research shows.
A survey of 600 HR leaders by Wiley Education Services and HR advisory firm Future Workplace found that the skills gap has grown by 12% since last year.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of the executives surveyed for Closing the Skills Gap 2019 said there is a skills gap in their company, up from 52% in the 2018 report. What’s more, 44% reported it was more difficult to fill their skills gap than it was last year, and 42% said the skills gap was making their company less efficient.
“The skills gap is growing, becoming a larger and more serious drag on business efficiency,” said Jeremy Walsh, VP of Enterprise Learning Solutions at Wiley Education Services. “Our research shows that, for the second year in a row, companies are grasping for solutions to improve their ability to find basic talent needs and one thing that is becoming very clear, companies that are willing to build talent versus simply buying talent will be the winners over the next few years.”
The most often-cited cause of the skills gap was said to be increasing changes in technology and the associated skills required (37%), followed by a lack of skilled talent capable of moving into positions with more responsibilities (31%) and lack of qualified candidates (30%).
But while 68% of HR leaders said their company very often or always communicates the value of upskilling, less than half of companies (48%) spend more than $500 (£404) per year per employee on upskilling or continuing education.
Employers increasingly prioritise solutions such as AI and outsourcing over upskilling. In the survey, 40% said they prefer to invest in AI than upskilling, an increase of 11% over last year. And nearly half (47%) prefer to hire gig workers instead of full-time employees, a rise of 9% over 2018.
“Now is the time for companies to take concrete steps to address this issue before it further impacts business outcomes,” said Jeanne Meister, Future Workplace founding partner. “Companies should not choose between investing in artificial intelligence or upskilling employees, they need to do both! No industry will be immune to the shortage of skilled labour needed to remain competitive today.”
Investing in skills will help companies capitalise on advanced technologies and next-generation internet connectivity, according to our Next-generation connectivity report. Download your free copy to learn more!