- A recent Pew Research Center survey sheds light on the changing demands of the American workforce and the skills that are most in demand. The report advises that occupations that generally require more education and training are increasing, and more working people are realizing the need to go back to school to upgrade their skills and get further training throughout their lives.
- In 1980, 49 million people worked in occupations that required an average or above average degree of preparation (education, training, experience), but as of 2015, this number has increased by 68% to nearly 83 million people. Employment also rose from 50 million to 65 million during this time span.
- The Pew Research report also shows that wages have increased in these higher level occupations, from $22 per hour to $27 per hour. The top skills in demand include analytical abilities and social skills. Over half (54%) of all workers said that they believed that they would need continuous learning in order to keep in pace with technology at work.
The Pew Research Center findings are in line with what many think will be an ongoing trend in most workplaces. It's no longer enough to earn a college degree and hope to get onboard with a great company. Each individual must decide for himself or herself how to best take advantage of corporate learning and development programs, seek out additional learning opportunities, and embrace the value of lifelong learning.
While more companies are stepping up with structured training and development programs, there are still many that offer barely enough to perform basic job duties. How can employers improve the skills that employees need to remain productive and competitive in the market, while solving skills shortages? The research points towards more companies proactively taking responsibility by offering more industry-relevant learning content.