In the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was considerable concern about the potential for automation and artificial intelligence to put millions of people out of work. It was therefore surprising that 32% of our respondents in our latest annual Pulse of Talent survey are not concerned at all about the future of work.
Companies should be concerned about how unconcerned their employees are. Who is preparing them for the future?
Our 2022 Pulse of Talent findings, gathered from surveying more than 6,800 workers from around the world, tell us that employees expect their employers’ help in skill development for the future. Eighty percent of respondents believe their employers should have all or some responsibility in their skill development.
Yet it appears that employers are not widely engaging with employees on the future of work. When we asked respondents how their organisations are preparing people for the future, they reported that one-quarter (26%) aren’t doing anything about the issue. This finding aligns with Ceridian’s 2021 Executive Survey where we found that “investing in future learning and workforce reskilling” was not high priority or essential for 26% of respondents.
Our Pulse of Talent data shows that 61% of employees are a flight risk today, with 23% actively looking for a new job and 38% open to the right opportunity. The cost of this turnover to companies is high. Research from Gallup shows that in the U.S. alone, voluntary employee turnover costs businesses $1 trillion every year.
Our 2022 Pulse of Talent survey findings reveal that respondents are partly seeking new jobs due to inadequate upskilling and reskilling opportunities, including a lack of growth opportunities (30%), a desired change in career path (28%), and work being misaligned with skills (18%).
New research from Gallup, commissioned by Amazon, also shows that workers want upskilling opportunities. Fifty-seven percent of these respondents say they are “extremely” or “very” interested in participating in an upskilling program. And 48% would switch to a new job if it offered skills training.
Preparing employees for the future of work is no small undertaking. Many organisations can get stuck simply figuring out where to start with upskilling and reskilling strategies for talent acquisition and employee retention.
And yet, given the pace of change in recent years, there’s no time like the present to prepare for the workforce of tomorrow. The future is now. Here are some ideas to get started.
Our 2022 Pulse of Talent survey data suggests that there may be a perception problem for employees when it comes to the future of work. Their lack of concern about the future may indicate a lack of awareness about how work is changing.
With their deep understanding of industry trends and forecasts, employers are well-positioned to take up this challenge and solve it. Try using a variety of internal communication vehicles – such as newsletters, company intranets, and all-hands meetings – to educate employees about how work is evolving and the importance of upskilling and reskilling. Help them understand the impact of change on their careers and why they should be invested in preparing for it.
When asked what challenges they face in acquiring new skills, 28% of our Pulse of Talent respondents said that they don’t know which skills are needed. Organisations must take the lead here, driving the conversation about the skills needed for the future of work.
By guiding employees in this process, employers can add tremendous value to the employee experience while also strengthening employee retention and engagement. Take the time as an organisation to think through the critical skills needed for each role. Then work to incorporate this skill-building into training programs. Also tie upskilling and reskilling to stable and secure career paths that help give employees a clearer picture of their future with your organisation.
Employees are often so busy thinking about their jobs at present and what needs to be done today that they don’t have the time to think about the future. In fact, 27% of our Pulse of Talent respondents cite time constraints as a challenge they face in acquiring new skills.
By providing time for employees to engage in upskilling and reskilling, employers help it move from a to-do list item to a reality. When time is set aside for such initiatives, employees know it is an organisational priority and feel encouraged to participate.
Employees value career growth, yet too many employers today are missing the opportunity to use upskilling and reskilling to better their employee retention and engagement. Organisations should seize this opportunity to build a brighter future for both themselves and their employees.