The majority (55 percent) of workers in the U.S. report they are under pressure to develop additional skills to be successful in their current and future jobs, but only 21 percent say they have acquired new skills through company-provided formal training during the past five years, according to a study released by Accenture.
The Accenture Skills Gap Study, which surveyed 1,088 employed and unemployed U.S. workers, found that while more than half (52 percent) have added technology skills in the past five years, few have updated other in-demand skills such as problem solving (31 percent), analytical skills (26 percent) and managerial skills (21 percent).
The study also found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of workers believe it is primarily their own responsibility, rather than their employer’s responsibility, to update their skills. However, only 53 percent of unemployed workers report they understand which skills are likely to be in demand in the next five years, compared to 80 percent of employed workers.
Employers’ role in closing the skills gap
The study suggests that employers may be hindered by not be having a complete picture of all of the skills they have within their organization to handle specific jobs. Just over half (53 percent) of respondents said their employers document their skills, but more than a third (38 percent) said their employers look only at specific job experience and education to match employees to jobs rather than looking at all of their talents and capabilities.
Limited ability to shift employees to different jobs within their organizations may also be preventing companies from fully utilizing their workers’ skills. Only one-third (34 percent) of respondents report that it is easy to move to another job within their company where their skills would best be utilized, and slightly less than half of respondents (49 percent) report that their employer does a good job of providing a clear understanding of the skills needed for different roles and career paths. More than one-third (36 percent) of workers say that they would be willing to move to another location where demand for their skills is strongest or where their skills could be put to better use.
Career path choices also are contributing to the skills gap, according to the study. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of all workers say they’ve had to change careers at least once in order to meet the challenges of the job market. However, only 28 percent report that they had an understanding of the skills required in their new career before making a change.
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