Preparing “Workforce for Tomorrow” Found as Key to Recovering from Recession



Results from a new survey “Training Out of the Recession,” completed by The Economist Intelligence Unit, show that companies and organisations need to redouble their commitment to job training, calling employee skill enhancement a vital component to increased productivity and profits. Promethean, a global interactive technology company, commissioned the survey.

“The findings of the EIU analysis confirm that training not only leads to increases in productivity and customer satisfaction, but at least a 20 percent jump in profits,” said Promethean’s Chief Education Officer Jim Wynn. “Skills training is not just a growth issue, but a vital component for companies in surviving this recession. The challenge is that fewer employers are devoting adequate resources to training yet the benefits of training are hard to ignore.”


The Promethean-Economist Intelligence Unit survey included 252 business executives and public sector workers from the U.K. and the US.  46 percent of the respondents were from the U.K. and the remaining respondents were from the US.


The survey found that high unemployment in the United Kingdom has taken a toll on the job prospects, skills and training of the working age population in the country. The level of U.K. unemployment stands at 8.4 percent, the highest since 1994 with 16-24 year olds worst affected (23% unemployment). A recent report by the International Labour Organisation said that the wide-spread long-term unemployment rate in the U.K. could result in “huge economic and social costs”.


Though the U.K. government is under pressure to create jobs and kick-start economic recovery, employers say that jobs are not in short supply, rather workers with the appropriate skills and talent. The skills-gap, which determines the difference between the skills needed on the job and those possessed by the applicants, is of real concern to employers looking to hire competent employees.


“During this challenging time we are all making strides to combat unemployment so we must all recognize that training is a key component to stimulate growth and therefore an issue for employers, employees and the nation,” Wynn said. “Improving the quality of training starts with increasing collaboration and interactivity to support a more personalised training experience. As a result, we will see a boost in productivity, the strengthening of our businesses and benefits to the economy as a whole.”


Key findings of the survey are:

  • Organisations in the U.K and U.S. see a direct correlation between training, employee productivity and financial performance.
    • 22% of those surveyed from the U.S., and over one-tenth (13%) of those surveyed from the U.K. say a more efficient and better trained workforce would lead to an increase of 20% or more in profit.
    • Employee productivity could improve by 5% or more, according to 90% of respondents. A similar proportion (87% (UK) and 85% (US)) predicts the same for customer satisfaction.


  • Employers in both countries recognise their responsibility in tackling high unemployment in their home markets.
    • Over three-fifths (62 percent U.K. and 64 percent U.S.) think that their organisations should offer more training schemes and update existing ones to help job-seekers.
    • Over two-fifths (44 percent and 45 percent respectively) propose working with educational institutions to improve job-seekers’ chances at finding employment.
    • 51 percent of U.K. executives and 40 percent of U.S. respondents think that governments need to work with the private sector to offer training.


  • Current training provided by employers is often inadequate.
    • Over two-fifths of U.K. respondents (44 percent) and nearly two-fifths (37 percent) of U.S. respondents say that training at their organisation is not good at improving innovation among employees.
    • Just over one-quarter of respondents from both countries think employee efficiency and productivity do not stand to benefit from current training schemes.


  • Few employers are devoting more resources to training.
    • Less than one-third of survey respondents from the UK or U.S. report that their employers have increased investment in training over the last two years.
    • Over one-fifth of UK respondents say investment has decreased.


  • The state of the economy should not deter organisations and individuals from investing in training.
    • 70 percent of U.K. respondents and 58 percent of U.S. respondents say that current economic conditions should not be an obstacle to organisations taking steps to improve their workforce.
    • The majority (93 percent) of both U.K. and U.S. respondents believe that organisations should offer a multitude of in-house and external training programs to their employees.
    • 69 percent of UK respondents and 82 percent of US respondents believe employees should also pursue beneficial training at their own expense.
  • Employers in the U.K. and U.S. expect workers and jobseekers to take the lead in improving their skills.
    • 84 percent of U.K. respondents and 79 percent of U.S. survey respondents said that jobseekers should be doing more to develop their skills.
    • 76 percent of U.K. respondents and 64 percent of US respondents think local businesses, large businesses and educational institutions (69%) need to increase efforts to advance workers and jobseekers’ abilities over the next two years.

o   74 percent of U.K. employers and 62 percent of U.S. employers think this is also true of central governments.

  • One size fits all does not work with training and skills development. To become more attractive in the job-market, workers from different age groups should have different goals.
    • In the US, 46 percent believe that for the young (16-24-year-olds) investing in further education should be a top priority. Over two-fifths (45%) of UK executives believe that this age group needs to ensure they have a broad range of up to date skills.
    • 50 percent of US executives and two-fifths (49%) of UK respondents say that those aged between 25 and 50 need to make sure they have a broad range of up to date skills that can help them perform better.
    • More than one-half of US respondents and 48% of UK executives think more mature workers (51-75 year olds) should become adaptable and flexible team players.