In a new survey, 79% of U.S. workers acknowledge there is a skills gap in the United States. Notably, however, nearly the same percentage (78%) believe they have above average skills for their current job, and 80% think the workforce can be successfully reskilled to meet the demands of the job market. So, why in their opinion, does the skills gap persist?
The main barrier respondents identified—perhaps not surprisingly—is money: 45% of workers said that lack of resources is the biggest obstacle to closing the skills gap. Workers believe that government-funding training programs (cited by 27%) and business-funded training programs (26%) are required in order to reskill the workforce.
Another 34% believe that the government should offer tax benefits to individuals for learning new skills. Just 13% believe that individuals should have to pay their own way to be reskilled.
One eye-opening statistic was that 2 in 10 U.S. workers identified the nation’s opioid crisis/drug dependence as a barrier to our workforce’s ability to reskill (second only to resources as per above).
Also, according to the Udemy survey, nearly half of U.S. workers (47%) believe they have fewer career advancement opportunities in their organization than previous generations and are seeking new channels and skills to advance in their careers. They identified soft skills such as communication (56%), critical thinking (54%), and attention to detail (53%) as those most valued in their current job, but 43% believed technical skills are what they need the most for career growth and advancement.
For more insights on the 2017 Skills Gap Report, including demographic breakdowns (for example, men 42% of men feel personally affected by the skills gap vs. 28% of women) you can access more details here.