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Workers Worry Job Skills are Lagging, Survey Finds


Employees and HR managers consider problem-solving skills to be the most important attribute.

By University Alliance on September 03, 2015
U.S. Workers Express Concern about Skills Gap

When it comes to job skills, hiring managers aren’t the only ones worried that U.S. workers are lacking and need a skills upgrade. A new study reveals that workers themselves share those same concerns.

The 2015 Emerging Workforce Study revealed that roughly one-third of employees have specific concerns about their own job skills, and how that will affect their current and future career prospects.

About 29% of workers believe their job skills are obsolete and expose them to the threat of career stagnation, according to the July 2015 study, which was commissioned by Spherion Staffing. About 33% of workers say their skills are inadequate for potential positions in the future, and 36% say their skills wouldn’t be enough to land them a promotion now.

Additionally, 35% of workers say it’s difficult to find time to update their competences through training or other professional development.

Those concerns echo the worries reported by human resources professionals. The Spherion study found that 48% of employers expect the challenge of finding skilled and qualified workers to remain a top HR concern in the coming years.

Among employers, 62% are more concerned about a lack of talent shortage than they were a year ago. 

While workers and human resources managers alike see the need for improved technology skills, even more of both groups say the biggest demand is for problem-solving skills and strategic thinking. Among workers, 51% cited problem-solving skills as essential, followed by strategic thinking at 31% and technology expertise at 30%.

Among HR managers, 47% said problem-solving was the most needed proficiency, followed by strategic thinking at 34%, with three other skills – team building, understanding and interpreting data, and technology expertise – each garnering 25%.

Employees gave several reasons for their lagging skills, with nearly one-third blaming their bosses for inadequate training. Just one out of three workers rated their company’s training and career development programs as good or excellent.

A little more than three-quarters of workers said it’s up to their employer to offer a well-defined professional development path.

Most human resources professionals say that’s what they are doing. The Emerging Workforce Study found that 77% of employers had added training and development programs in an effort to boost staff retention.

Category: 2015 Headlines