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Closing the Skills Gap

Wiley Education Services and Future Workplace released Closing the Skills Gap, a survey of 600 human resource leaders on their hiring practices, barriers to identifying qualified candidates, and challenges that limit talent development programs.

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“The skills gap is growing, becoming a larger and more serious drag on business efficiency,” said Jeremy Walsh, VP of Enterprise Learning Solutions at Wiley Education Services. “Our research shows that, for the second year in a row, companies are grasping for solutions to improve their ability to find basic talent needs and one thing that is becoming very clear, companies that are willing to build talent versus simply buying talent will be the winners over the next few years."

State of the Skills Gap

  • 64% of surveyed employers believe there is a skills gap in their company, up from 52% in 2018.
  • The three biggest impacts of skills gaps include recruiting challenges (43%), decreased efficiency (42%), and missed opportunities (27%).
  • 68% promote the value of upskilling to their employees, but less than half invest more than $500 per year to upskill each employee. They credit this to lacking funds (40%) or in-house resources (35%) to upskill their personnel, and another 35% encounter challenges when seeking third-party training partners.
  • More than three-fourths of surveyed employers said their organization had up to 500 unfilled roles during the past year. The top barriers to filling open positions include the pace that technology changes (37%), lacking skilled talent who can take on more responsibility (31%) and not being able to find enough qualified candidates (30%).

Growing Gig Economy

  • 47% prefer to hire gig workers instead of full-time employees, a jump of 9% over 2018.
  • 58% rely on part-time workers, contract workers (51%), and temporary workers (51%) to round out their skills needs.

Education Trends

  • 90% of employers would look beyond college graduates to hire candidates who validate their knowledge using a certification, digital badge, or coursework instead of a college degree.
  • Nearly half trust industry certifications and nearly one-fourth rely on skills bootcamps.
  • 52% reimburse tuition for employees enrolled in upskilling or reskilling programs, and 88% cover at least some tuition costs.

Top In-Demand Skills

  • The most in-demand hard skills are strategic thinking and analytical skills (48%), computer skills (46%), and project management (32%).
  • The most in-demand soft skills are leadership (39%), adaptability (36%), and communication (36%). 
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