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UK workers want to upskill ahead of looming recession

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Employers seem to be standing in their way

New research by Talent.com has revealed that 46% of UK employees are keen to undertake training to upskill in preparation for a potential recession, and 52% are willing to fund this themselves in their own time.

The survey, among over 1000 UK workers, also found that 1 in 10 believe their employer is not offering the chance to learn new skills. A further 76% said they would be willing to undertake training outside of working hours if funded by somebody else (e.g., their employer).

Thirty-four percent of this those who do not wish to upskill said this is for the following reasons:

  • employers don’t offer training
  • they don’t know how to access it, or
  • don’t know what kinds of skills they will need for the future world of work.

The survey found generational differences in terms of those who wish to upskill versus those who don’t, with 61% of workers over 45 saying that they are not looking to reskill. Of these:

  • 47% said they believe their current skillset will be enough to get them through.
  • 18% said that they do not have time.
  • 13% cannot afford to pay for it themselves.
  • 1 in 10 said that their company is not allowing them to develop new skills at work.

Two-thirds of the under-35 age group are keen to diversify their skillset or have already done so to prepare for a potential recession. Of the under 35s not looking to upskill:

  • 24% said they don’t know which skill areas to focus on.
  • 26% said they don’t have time.
  • 26% said they don’t have the funds (26%).

The research also looked at what actions workers are planning to take over the next six months in response to the increasing cost of living:

  • 45% said they do not plan to do anything related to their jobs in response to the crisis.
  • 18% are considering developing a side hustle.
  • 8% are planning to take on one or more additional jobs.
  • 4% are planning on freelancing.
  • 19% are planning to ask their employer for a raise.
  • 8% are looking at taking on more hours.

The participants who said that they plan to take action over the next six months were asked to identify their main reasons:

  • 43% said they required more income for everyday expenses, which suggests that managing daily expenses such as bills and groceries is a main concern for the workforce.
  • 30% said they needed more income for discretionary spending such as holidays.
  • 25% want to be able to contribute more of their income toward savings.

Noura Dadzie, Senior VP of Sales at Talent.com, says: “For the UK workforce the threat of a recession is real. Half of UK employees feel that a looming recession is a threat to their job security and would be prepared to switch industries if their current one was threatened.”

 “In today’s competitive job market, where candidates hold the power, it is clear that employers who offer training to their employees will not only be a more attractive choice to potential candidates, but will also amass and retain a more skilled workforce with workers keen to take up training that is on offer.

 “Offering career development paths improves the employer value proposition and make organizations more attractive not only to Gen Z and Millennial employees but also to older workers looking to return to the workplace.

 “In a previous Talent.com study on salary transparency, it was found that 20% of the UK workforce considered access to training and development plans as one of the most important factors when searching for a job.”


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