Learning & Development

Young Employees Feeling Forced to Find Their Own Training

Today’s employees know that learning doesn’t stop when they finish school. In fact, the environment changes so rapidly these days that it’s unlikely that even new graduates come to their new jobs fully prepared.


Source: Ridofranz / iStock / Getty

One thing many employees look for in a job is the opportunity to learn new skills. Employers that can provide that have a big differentiator because today’s employers don’t train like they used to.

Shifts in Training Practices

In an article for Entrepreneur, Stephane Kasriel cites research by Peter Capelli, director of the Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources, which found that employers don’t train young workers to the extent they once did.
Capelli’s research showed that in 1979, the average young worker received 2.5 weeks of training per year and only 11 hours in 1995. By 2011, the situation was even more dire—the Washington Post reported that, according to a 2011 Accenture study, “only about a fifth of employees reported getting on-the-job training from their employers.”

On Their Own

As a result, Kasriel notes that many young workers are seeking out their own training. “Enabled by new technologies, today’s young professionals have more opportunities than ever before to train themselves and be their own bosses,” he writes, pointing to the emergence of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in the early 2010s as an example of the tools available.
While many employers might like the sound of that and the positive impact this might have on budgets, they are wise to keep two things in mind:

  1. When employees train themselves, they are going to focus on what interests them and what they see as most beneficial for their overall career development, not necessarily what will be the best skills for their current job (with your company); and
  2. Employees who train themselves might someday work for themselves (and not for you).

Creating a Tie Through Training

“According to Upwork’s Freelancing in America 2017 report, young workers — unhappy with full-time jobs and aware of the fact that employers won’t train them — are increasingly choosing to go their own ways, becoming their own bosses and training themselves,” writes Kasriel.
Providing training for employees isn’t just important from an employee engagement standpoint. If your employees are seeking out their own training, they are going to be guiding that training, not you. Additionally, they may just learn enough to leave your company.
That’s a risk you likely don’t want to take in this hiring environment. What more could you, and your managers and supervisors, be doing to help provide employees with the training—and training direction—they need?