Here’s what employers, employees think about upskilling

A new survey suggests America's employers are not effectively addressing the skills gap.
By: | October 15, 2019 • 2 min read

There is little doubt that, as today’s work is becoming increasingly digital and automated, this new environment requires updated skills. Yet, employers and employees alike detect a sizable skills deficit to meeting that trend, according to a recent report.

Bottom line, when it comes to addressing future talent and skills needs, America is running at a an ongoing deficit, a view that this latest bit of research confirms.

In the survey, “The Upskilling Crisis: Effectively Enabling and Retraining Employees for the Future” from West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consultancy, more than half (56%) of organizations believe they have a moderate to severe skills gap today, and 60% of employees believe that, to some extent, their current skill set will become outdated in the next three to five years.


“The urgency for upskilling comes at a time when emerging  skill sets are scarce, and the talent market is tight—making it prudent to keep people even if they don’t have the right skills right now,” says Michael Hughes, managing director and leader of West Monroe’s Operations Excellence practice. “It’s often cheaper to retrain current employees than find and hire new ones, as the consequences of turnover can be felt at the bottom line.”

According to Hughes, in the past year, 70% of employers have introduced at least one new technology designed to increase employee productivity. Employers and employees agree these employee-enablement tools create value. Among employers, for instance, 78% say that type of technology makes the organization more efficient, and 71% say it increases productivity. Conversely, 61% of employees believe technology helps them deliver a higher quality of work output, while 56% agree that it allows them to work more efficiently and frees time for additional tasks.

Of those who will need reskilling by 2022, 35% will need training that could take up to six months, while 10% will require training that could take more than a year. Yet, 33% of employees say they were never trained on new tech they were tasked with using.

West Monroe surveyed more than 430 people at the manager level and above across various industries, while 1,000 people participated in the employee survey, representing a wide range of industries and job levels nationwide.