Upskill Debate

Employers and employees split on responsibility of development.

Upskill Debate

Asia Pacific

The responsibility of upskilling workers is split between employers and professional employees with the latter saying the organisation they work for should be accountable rather than the individual worker. From Hays research a massive 96 per cent of the professionals surveyed consider upskilling as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ and 84 per cent would not consider a role that lacked skills development while 47 per cent wouldn’t join an organisation that didn’t offer formal training opportunities.

For some, not receiving time off to attend seminars or conferences (34 per cent), a lack of coaching (27 per cent) or mentorships (24 per cent) and not providing time off for university or TAFE studies (18 per cent) are deal breakers. Interestingly, 64 per cent said they were more likely to join and stay with an organisation that uses the latest technology.

In contrast, 77 per cent of the employers Hays surveyed said they were more likely to shortlist a qualified candidate who regularly upskills themselves and 59 per cent actively encourage employees to become self-directed learners.

“There’s a push-pull between employers and employees when it comes to upskilling,” said Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. “Today’s jobseekers are far more likely to judge a potential job role on how well it will position them for career longevity. Given how quickly technology changes, the challenge is to stay employable by keeping skills relevant. Employers that provide on-the-job training are therefore becoming very attractive to jobseekers.

“With highly-skilled professionals in demand, it could be that bosses who ensure their employees’ continuing learning will gain the upper hand in securing top talent,” he added.

A report by Deloitte, Careers and learning, Real time, all the time, suggests the half-life of learned skills is falling rapidly while the longer working life of people means “the concept of career is being shaken to its core.

“In the past, employee learning was to gain skills for a career; now, the career itself is a journey of learning,” the report authors said. But the question remains: Who should be responsible for keeping people upskilled? Individuals or employers?

“Given that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is reshaping how every industry and profession operates via digital transformation and technologies such as AI, the answer is probably a combination of employers hiring in active learners with a demonstrated history of upskilling, while also training up their existing employees,” Nick said.

London School of Economics Professor Lynda Gratton suggests in the book, the 100-Year Life, Living and Working in the Age of Longevity, that government should also play a role by “schooling” people throughout their lives but employers must drive skill building at work and help employees understand their options to skill up no matter their age or career stage.



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