Global Study Reveals Differing Perspectives on Workplace Skills Gap and Its Impact: More than One-Third of U.S. Workers Personally Impacted; Workforce Conflicted on Solution
San Francisco — November 15, 2017 — Udemy, the global marketplace for learning and teaching online, released today the “2017 Skills Gap Report,” which examines how attitudes toward career opportunities, job preparedness, and reskilling align and diverge in today’s highly globalized work environment. One underlying trend is that the majority of workers around the world think there is a growing skills gap but feel optimistic about their own skills and the competitiveness of their respective countries.
“The nature of jobs is quickly changing with automation, globalization, government policies, and other factors, making it impossible for anyone to predict which skills a job will require in the future. This only serves to widen the perceived skills gap,” said Kevin H. Johnson, CEO, Udemy. “In such an uncertain environment, it’s not surprising that workers are confused about how to plan their careers, but we’re encouraged to see how many of our survey respondents are learning online on their own and are hungry for more and better training from their employers.”
Perceptions of the Skills Gap in the U.S. Job Market
The majority (79%) of full-time employees in the U.S. believe there is a skills shortage in our country, and about a third (35%) feel personally affected by it. Looking closer, the survey found that people are anxious about the changing demands of their jobs and are trying to figure out the best way to keep their skills up to date. At the same time, they feel optimistic about U.S. competitiveness in the world and our ability to re-skill at scale. Perceptions, however, differ on the impact of the skills gap and who should be responsible for funding reskilling efforts:
- 80% believe the workforce can be successfully re-skilled to meet the demands of the job market.
- 41% want a tax benefit for personal investment in skills training but also think the government and employers should pay for their reskilling efforts.
- 39% have lowered their expectations for success and happiness at work following the Great Recession and 39% of American workers have a side hustle, 75% say it’s to earn extra money.
- Men (42%) feel more personally affected by the skills gap than women (28%).
- Millennials and Gen Z (43%) feel the most impacted by the skills gap.
A Global Phenomenon
The skills gap is a critical issue not only across the American workforce but across international markets as well. In an analysis of five key global markets—Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico and Spain— the results showed widespread acknowledgment of the skills gap but differing perspectives around personal impact. The majority of employees in Spain, Mexico, and Brazil feel personally affected by the skills gap, with figures at 57%, 65%, and 66% respectively.
- French workers (75%) feel the most confident in their current skill set.
- The vast majority (98%) of Brazilian workers acknowledge there is a skills gap in their region.
- 50% of workers in Mexico believe individuals themselves are most responsible for reskilling to close the gap, followed by the government (17%) and employer responsibility (13%).
- The Brazilian workforce feels most strongly that their country’s job market is competitive (83%), followed by Mexico (75%) and the U.S. (66%).
- Spain and Germany have the fewest workers with a ‘side-hustle’ or a second job (18% each), while 54% of Mexican workers report having a side gig.
This online survey for the U.S. was conducted by Toluna Group on behalf of Udemy in September 2017 among more than 1,000 U.S. office workers in full-time jobs who are ages 18 or older. Complete methodology for all countries surveyed available upon request.
Udemy was founded in 2010 with the aim of improving lives through learning. Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching online where more than 17 million students learn from an extensive library of 55,000 courses taught by expert instructors in over 60 different languages. Whether learning for professional development or personal enrichment, students can master new skills through self-paced, on-demand courses, while instructors have a way to share their knowledge with the world. For companies, Udemy for Business offers subscription access to a collection of business-relevant courses as well as a simple platform to host and distribute their own content in one central place. Udemy is privately owned and headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Ireland and Turkey.