Cornerstone Research Reveals Widening Employee – Employer Skills Confidence Gap as Skill and Talent Shortages Top List of Urgent Organizational Concerns

May 4, 2022

2022 research report reveals “virtuous cycle” for high performing organizations who prioritize learning and skill development programs for their people

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – May 4, 2022 – Cornerstone OnDemand, Inc., a leader in adaptive HR solutions, today released findings from its 2022 global research study focused on organizational trends in the evolving skills development landscape. The report, Thriving in the Global Skills Shortage: Your Path Through the Wilderness, is the second in-depth global skills analysis conducted by the Cornerstone People Research Lab. The report found that nearly half of employers surveyed placed skills and talent shortages within their top three most urgent concerns in the next three years and identified a strong positive correlation between overall business performance and the quality of new skilling support and development opportunities offered to employees.

The two-part global research survey measured the views of 1,800 employees and more than 800 business leaders across North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Similar to the questions asked in the 2020 study, the latest survey compared how each group perceived their organizations’ continued investment in skills initiatives, their ability to influence talent and business outcomes, and how well they responded to the pandemic.

A significant finding from the 2020 study uncovered a 30-percentage-point Skills Confidence Gap between employers who believed that they were delivering skills to employees and employees’ confidence in their employer’s ability to develop their skills. According to the 2022 survey data, this gap actually widened for average and low performing organizations. While employer confidence in their ability to understand and deliver on their needs rose in the recent report, employee confidence actually decreased by five points with just 55% of employees saying that their organization’s skills development was a priority.

“The latest research by the Cornerstone People Research Lab demonstrates how organizations and their people continue to see skills development as an increasingly important part of navigating their shared future successfully,” said Himanshu Palsule, CEO of Cornerstone. “Unfortunately, there continues to be a growing gap between how organizations view their ability to deliver on skills development and how employees are experiencing it. This is why Cornerstone continues to accelerate learning and talent innovation at the intersection of technology, data and people experience. Our goal is to enable our customers to better design and connect their learning and skilling programs to people needs and powerful business outcomes.”

Key Research Findings

In many cases, the pandemic exacerbated or accelerated issues that already limited organizational ability to adapt and change. Long-term talent shortages and new challenges, like the rapid pace of digital transformation, are asserting themselves and threatening many organizations’ ability to execute, grow and innovate. Key findings include:

  • Employers and employees aren’t fully aligned on current skills focus. There continues to be a significant Skills Confidence Gapbetween employers and employees when it comes to confidence in their organization’s current ability to help them develop new skills. This gap not only persisted from 2020, but - on average - grew wider.
  • Employees are not confident their companies are prioritizing skills in the future. The research revealed that only 55% of employees are confident in their organization’s future prioritization of new skilling opportunities for them.
  • The Skills Confidence Gap narrowed or widened depending on organizational strength. High-performing organizations (HPOs) had a much smaller gap between employees and employers. HPOs not only prioritized skill development at a much higher level than their peers, but their employees also agreed with them — with only an 11% gap between employer and employee perception. Meanwhile, Laggards (low-performing organizations) not only rated their prioritization of skill development much lower, but less than 20% of employees in those organizations also agreed that skills development is an important objective — a 42% gap.

High Performing Organizations Provide a Guidepost

The report showed that leading organizations are blazing the trail. Seventy-two percent of HPOs globally reported that they had already begun to prioritize their skills development investments within the next year. Given the trendline of HPOs outperforming their peers in organizational outcomes and employee confidence in new skilling initiatives, this increased focus provides a guidepost for other organizations globally.

The Path Forward

To reduce the employee-employer Skills Confidence Gap and address uncertainty, the 2022 report, Thriving in the Global Skills Shortage: Your Path Through the Wilderness, outlines practical steps organizations can take to build high impact future skills, including how to:

  • Predict future skills your organization will need and identify potential skills gaps among your people
  • Integrate intelligent skills technology into other career development tools that your organization is already using or should be using
  • Foster a learning culture that prioritizes skill-building and empowers people to grow
  • Strategize and deliver more relevant, modern and personalized learning content to your people
  • Adopt an internal-first hiring mindset to encourage skills development and career growth

“To prepare their workforce for the future, organizations increasingly need to take a skills-forward approach to learning and talent — identifying what skill gaps exist, which skills will be needed in the future and a relevant, engaging path that enables their people to more effectively build those skills,” said Ajay Awatramani, Chief Product Officer at Cornerstone. “That’s exactly what we do at Cornerstone. We build our solutions with skills technology at the center to help our customers create fully connected people experiences where skills are a common language of development and career success.”

For more information on the 2022 report findings and to view the full version of the report, please visit

About Cornerstone

Cornerstone powers the future-ready workforce with adaptive HR solutions designed to unite technology, data and content and inspire a work environment of growth, agility and success for all. With an AI-powered, skills-forward, experiential system designed for the contemporary workforce, we help organizations modernize their learning and development experience, deliver the most relevant content from anywhere, accelerate talent and career mobility and establish skills as the universal language of growth and success across their business. Cornerstone serves over 6,000 customers and 75M users and is available in 180 countries and 50 languages.

About Cornerstone People Research Lab

The mission of the Cornerstone People Research Lab (CPRL) is to generate data-driven discoveries about the world of work today and identify emerging trends that will give rise to new work models. Its two primary areas of focus are corporate learning and development trends and issues related to the experience of people at work.


Cornerstone partnered with The Starr Conspiracy to survey 815 leaders from organizations across the globe who have 500 or more employees. These leaders comprised founders and owners, C-level executives, presidents, directors and management professionals. Simultaneously, The Starr Conspiracy surveyed 1,800 full-time, part-time and/or contract employees working for organizations across the globe with 500 or more employees. These employees comprised various generations and a mix of managers and individual contributors. Between November 2021 and December 2021, survey respondents were questioned about attitudes toward skills development and talent mobility.

Media Contact

Carolyn Harding, Cornerstone,

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