Four Out Of Five Workers Say They Need New Skills

A new survey from Kaplan/LinkedIn reinforces need to keep skills fresh

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If you feel like you are in need of new skills to get ahead in your career, then you are not alone. In fact, the vast majority of workers today, or 78 percent, say they are in need of new skills to stay in the game and advance, according to a new joint survey conducted by Kaplan University and LinkedIn.

The survey polled more than 1,000 workers on the LinkedIn network. And the poll found an across-the-board existential angst among workers today. Some of the key findings:
  • 62 percent of Baby Boomers who are at the end of their career say they are in need of new skills.
  • 64 percent of total survey respondents say education will continue to play an important role in their career advancement. The figure for Baby Boomers stood at 55 percent.
  • 63 percent of respondents say they regularly devote time to enhancing their online presence.

As it turns out these workers aren't off their rocker to be so concerned. As AOL Jobs has reported, roughly four of ten polled employers say they are unable to fill open positions as a result of the so-called skills gap. The gap usually refers to workers' inability to keep up with changing technology.

Sophie Vlessing, a senior vice president for Kaplan, agreed about the need for all workers to continue their education and training through their career, no matter their position. "We find that corporate leaders are always looking for people who keep updating their skills. It's basically a requirement to keep evolving."

The survey did not question workers about which skills they think they need to improve upon. But according to Vlessing, workers are just as likely to be falling short in the category of "soft skills," like knowing how to behave in an interview, as they are with keeping up with new technology.

The gap issue for technical skills is perhaps of greatest relevance to America's oldest workers, who have logged the most years in the workforce before the digital revolution changed everything. Indeed, America's most veteran workers are fighting irrelevance everyday, and 51 percent of them have said they've been forced to retire earlier than they wanted to, as per a MetLife Mature Market Institute survey released last year that was reported on by AOL Jobs.
Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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Pamela Craft Gustus

I was very impressed by the articles I just read, especially the one about the job proglems and the boomer age group. they were not stressed upon when they were grqaduates to get degrees, the way young people are today, when the boomers got to a certain time in the job force they needed more education. some finding themselves going to school at almost middle age. then some of the boomers have had toretire wt w young age because of health iissues. then there is the joint , infllaflex, which helps some with pain and stiffnes, and even slows down the process of deteriation. all of the information was very helpful and informative.

November 24 2013 at 11:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Benton Virtus

Categorizing the skills gap as being due to "workers' inability to keep up with changing technology" is, to a large extent, utter nonsense.

The bigger factor is that it's become routine for organizations to reduce headcount--either through layoffs, or through a refusal to back-fill vacancies caused by normal turn-over--and, instead, "divvy up" the job duties among the remaining employees. Employees who suddenly have new responsibilities and tools that were never a part of their job description forced on them literally overnight.It's the organization that is creating the skills gap in the first place.

The other side of the coin is the oft-repeated nonsense about the skills gap being responsible for why 40% of employers can't fill their open positions. The level of preparedness of candidates is as good as ever. It's the requirements for the open positions that have gone nuts. Well-known in the staffing industry as "looking for a purple squirrel", many employers will talk only to candidates who precisely match some crazy combination of experience and training in some obscure combination of niche products. That's what you get when you try to make one employee do what was previously two or three jobs. So again, it's the organizations themselves that are creating the gap.

Employers have commoditized their human resources to an extent where commitment to and investment in employees is no longer deemed important. This "commitment gap" is the problem, not employees' ability to keep up with technology.

November 12 2013 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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