Continuous learning opportunities viewed as top priority by emerging workforce, survey finds

Continuous learning opportunities

There are a myriad of significant changes that have occurred since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the world, schools closed, unemployment increased, economies collapsed, startups and medium sized enterprises across all industries have taken a significant hit to their revenue streams.

But what is known about the pandemic’s impact on those still employed?

To better understand consumers’ plans and motivations, the Institute for Business Value (IBV), IBM’s Business Consulting branch focused on Research and Innovation, surveyed more than 14,000 adults in January 2021 across nine countries including: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The survey revealed that one in four people plan to switch employment; what is also staggering is the fact that most employees who have voluntarily shifted careers in 2020, are actively looking for new opportunities again today.

This begs the question, how did the pandemic cause voluntary job changes to be the top of mind for the global workforce?

According to the survey, more than half the people who voluntarily jumped jobs in 2020 are part of generation Z (ages 18-24) standing at 33 percent, and millennials (ages 25-39) amounted to 25 percent.

Plausible considering the flexibility of conducting interviews from home while exploring continuous learning opportunities to make a career-shift.

It is worth mentioning that company ethics and values are considered as top priority for the younger workforce, as 40 percent of surveyed consumers saw it vital that these employer qualities to be present for proper engagement; in parallel, 36 percent of respondents valued continuous learning opportunities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed employees’ expectations of their employers, and leaders should take a more empathetic and personalized approach to attracting and retaining talent, especially for Gen Z and Millennial candidates and employees who may be more likely to make voluntary employer or occupation changes,” said Amy Wright, managing partner, IBM Talent & Transformation.

Wright also highlighted that those attributes could include developing tailored learning plans and career paths for employees, fostering inclusive and flexible cultures and removing bias in hiring with the help of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).

Working from home not only helped employees realize the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, but also gave them a clear insight on how far they’ve reached in their careers, leaving them striving for more advancement opportunities.

The IBY survey reported that 25 percent of consumers indicated their reskilling or upskilling goals for 2021 included enrollment in a formal degree, certification, or badging program. More than one in four Gen Z respondents say they will pursue an apprentice opportunity, which was the largest percentage compared to other generation groups surveyed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, combined with rapid technological developments, is profoundly changing the workplace,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Vice President and Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. She also adds “at the same time, businesses are increasingly seeking to build strong and diverse talent pipelines.”

Laborers have become open to the idea of continuous learning, despite the rising confidence of already having the necessary skills to meet their goals in 2021.

IBM grabbed this opportunity of noticeable change in behavior and put together a free, online learning platform, SkillsBuild, to help individuals form and expand skills for the future.

The platform is specifically designed to empower job seekers and other professionals with workplace readiness and technical skills. Even though it is currently only available in the United States, SkillsBuild offers their wide portfolio of courses in different languages including English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

SkillsBuilds allows their subscribers to use personal coaching tools, complete portfolio-building projects, and earn credentials to showcase their learnings to potential employers.

By accessing this platform, it allows users to conduct a self-assessment, helping them find a learning path that fits their skill set and interests.

Courses cover areas such as data analysis, customer service, cybersecurity, and presentation skills amongst other things.

The search for new opportunities has created a chance for individuals to upscale and continue learning; this shift has highlighted the importance of continuous learning.

Knowledge and education never end.

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