Most leaders say their companies subsidize training delivered outside the workplace

By Ryan Golden

Dive Brief:

  • Most U.S. decision makers (63%) say their organizations are subsidizing courses delivered outside the workplace in order to combat skilled talent shortages, according to data provided to HR Dive by Ceridian.
  • Additionally, 72% of respondents said “re-skilling” workers is a high or essential priority for tackling skill gaps. Organizations are looking to models like social learning forums, mentorship programs and job shadowing programs, Ceridian said.
  • Sixty-nine percent of decision makers are “very concerned” about the health of their industry in the near-term. But this hasn’t dampened hiring plans, per the data; half of respondents believe the size of their workforce will increase, and 80% said they would need more employees with technical skills.

Dive Insight:

A slew of reports in recent years have shown most organizations face a shortage of skilled talent. That aspect of Ceridian’s research isn’t new, but the more interesting tidbit may be that organizations are turning to external parties for talent development opportunities.

This is a strategy top companies have put into practice in spades in 2019, mainly via partnerships. Microsoft, for example, launched a partnership to create a “masters-level” course on artificial intelligence in business. Other businesses, like Lowe’s, are partnering with fellow employers to prepare students and job candidates for specific industries and trades.

Ceridian noted in its statement that most respondents said technical skills would be a growing area of need for employers. This connects with statements by other training executives that the core digital skills gap may be the biggest challenge for employers. It’s also reflected in learning formats like boot camps, which typically aim to teach learners the basic digital skills required for new roles.

But other HR leaders who have spoken to HR Dive note that technical skills are constantly in flux, and that workers may be better prepared for job changes if they have basic leadership competencies and a knack for continuous learning.

Ultimately, solving skilled talent shortages is just as much a conversation about resources as it is about tactics. The World Economic Forum earlier this year projected it would cost $34 billion to retrain U.S. workers to take on new, growing roles. That’s a sum employers likely won’t be able to match on their own, the organization noted, meaning governments, educational institutions and others will need to contribute.

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