In a new survey, over a third of UK workers polled felt as though they were unable to develop new skills in their current jobs due to their employers failing to provide them with enough opportunities to do so. 

Research by SDWorx, a payroll and HR services provider, stresses that employers may be missing the chance to offer employees opportunities to progress and upskill.

During COVID-19, learning and development has been a key focus with HR teams trying to navigate how this will look in a post-COVID world.

However, over a third of UK workers (34.6 per cent) stated that they are not receiving the correct opportunities to upskill in the workplace.

Furthermore, under half (49 per cent) expressed that they had the chance to decide which training courses they would like to attend, showing that a sizeable amount of the workforce is prohibited from shaping their own development.

This is largely at odds with the way employees wish to develop. Overall, almost three-quarters of employees (71.6 per cent) stated that they are constantly trying to obtain further training and develop specialisations. In addition, over half (49.2 per cent) confessed that they look at possibilities of attending training courses several times a year. 

Employers failing to take heed of this could end up compromising employee engagement and staff satisfaction, leading to a failure to retain talent within their business.

Cathy Geerts, Chief HR Officer at SD Worx, stated:

Employers often underestimate the importance of training and upskilling as part of their ongoing jobs.

No employees wish to have the feeling that they are stuck in a particular job, especially with all the pressures and uncertainties of the global pandemic. If this year has taught us anything – it is the importance of flexibility, life-long learning and positive attitude as we collectively tackle problems and juggle personal and professional lives.

In order to increase employee engagement, it is crucial to give your employees the opportunity to develop continuously – to show that you value and invest in them – as much as you invest in stronger foundations for the business.

Ms. Geerts further continued:

By investing in employee training, businesses are investing in their teams’ job satisfaction at the same time.

Even when working schedules are busy or monotonous, learning opportunities support talent retention because staff don’t feel the pressure to change their roles simply to learn something new. Therefore, a culture of knowledge sharing is very important to support business continuity.

Today, 81.1 per cent of Brits say it’s difficult to change jobs – but if staff are not satisfied in their current jobs companies may see talent drain once job opportunities improve. A good talent management system can play a supporting role here because it not only brings out a team’s skills, but also provides employees with an overview of which areas and with which training courses they can continue to develop.

*To obtain this research, SD Worx surveyed 4,500 respondents Belgium, UK, France, Netherlands & Germany, with 500 based in the UK.

Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.