Survey after survey shows that companies are struggling to find the right talent. From software companies to manufacturers, employers claim the so-called skills gap threatens the future of their business. At the same time, analysts say the phenomenon is a myth. But until now, few studies have considered the other side of the story: workers’ views on the adequacy of their skills.
New research commissioned by Udemy, a platform for online courses, suggests that employees are unsatisfied with their capabilities as they relate to their current jobs. In the survey, 61 percent of participants said that they feel there’s a skills gap, while 54 percent said that they don’t know everything they need to know to perform their work today.
Technical skills are the most in demand. Of participants who need more skills for their current roles, 33 percent said they lacked technical expertise like computer programming and software skills. Management skills were the second most sought after.
Not for Lack of Education
"The skills gap is not mainly about too little schooling," James Bessen, an economist at Boston University School of Law, writes in Harvard Business Review. Instead, problems root from the gap in what students learn and the knowledge they use on the job. While almost half of survey participants said that their higher education helped them land their first job, more than one third said they use less than 10 percent of what they learned in college in the workplace.
"The data also shows that while higher education may be effective at helping individuals score their first job, skills and knowledge learned at academic institutions become obsolete as Americans change professions and skill-set requirements change," Dennis Yang, CEO of Udemy, said in a press release.
This is where management should step in. Companies have the unique ability to help their employees learn the skills they need on the job. "Rather than complaining about the fact that someone somewhere didn’t do their job, businesses ought to get off their duff, get involved, and make a difference," Peter Cappelli, an economist at the Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources tells Inc.
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