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19 Aug 2019

Mind the Gap: Survey Shows Need to Upskill Employees for the Digital Workplace

Rosie Cairnes

All professions come with a unique set of challenges; learning and development is no different. Throw a random selection of global learning and development leaders into a room, and regardless of industry, region or demographic, everyone present will agree their biggest problem is getting employees to find the time to avail of the learning opportunities they have so painstakingly developed and implemented. Employees are overwhelmed just completing their daily tasks, so it is hardly surprising they have so little time left to engage in learning and development. In fact, according to Bersin by Deloitte research, on average as little as 1% of the week is spent on learning and development.

However, while we can all acknowledge that time is probably the biggest barrier to learning new skills, the reality is that employees want to acquire new skills. Just how much this is an employee priority might surprise some readers. It is also true that technology and the way it is radically overhauling not only the way we work, but how we learn, is driving some of this demand.

How new technologies are changing the requirements for learning:

Skillsoft Research

Together with Vanson Bourne, Skillsoft recently conducted an extensive learning and development survey across APAC, including Australia, New Zealand Singapore and Malaysia. We aimed to understand what employees representing industries such as retail, construction, manufacturing and financial services think about learning and development and the role it plays in their careers. We surveyed 2,500 people from different departments and educational backgrounds. Our findings represent the current mood amongst employees around learning and career development opportunities in the region.

The result, the Mind the Gap: Upskilling employees for the digital workplace report, offers HR professionals a unique look into the way employees think and feel about the learning programmes available in their organisations. The report also identifies employees’ priorities for professional and career progression.

The full report is now available. However, today I want to draw attention to a few of the highlights of the research.

What do employees think about the current learning and development offerings in their organisations?


The report reveals 85% wish they had received more training in 2018 and most want more training on how to use technologies. Many are concerned that they do not possess the skills they need to remain employable in the future.

Skillsoft Research

Learning and development needs an update

Employees want learning and development to be more innovative and on-trend when it comes to how they provide opportunities. If you are not already incorporating video-based courses and collaborative learning, then now is the time to get started.

In Australia and New Zealand:

Again, we see the trend for employees not feeling adequately trained to adapt to the new work paradigm. Nearly 80% of employees want their employers to step-up by offering more training in new technologies. As in APAC, there is a feeling that learning and development needs to utilise more innovative and current methods of learning.

Skillsoft Research

What do the findings mean for L&D professionals?

The results demonstrate that organisations can no longer afford to see learning and development as a once-off, check the box, and you are done exercise. Instead we must now accept that what is essential is that companies provide employees with a framework for continuous learning that offers learning in the flow of work, at the speed of business transformation to ensure everyone feels confident they can remain relevant and prepared for all the changes that technology brings.

For more insights, download the full report Skillsoft’s Mind the Gap: Upskilling Asia Pacific Employees for the digital workplace.

About the Author

Rosie Cairnes

Rosie Cairnes is Regional Vice President for Skillsoft Asia Pacific. With more than 23 years’ experience working with both national and global organisations across a wide variety of industry sectors and government agencies, she specialising in cloud-based learning and performance support solutions, Rosie’s goal is to help organisations align learning with strategic business goals to deliver quantifiable results and impact that benefit both the organisations and their employees.

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