UK workforce ‘unprepared and unskilled’ for future of work, survey finds

New research has revealed that around 30% of UK workers believe they lack the skills needed for the modern workplace.

The survey, which compared existing skills to those identified by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as vital for modern economies, reveals a mismatch between the skills needed for the future and the current confidence of workers, according to the provider Questionmark online assessment.

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Of the top ten skills businesses would need by 2025, only three were confidently possessed by more than half of respondents – problem solving, critical thinking and resilience.

For UK organisations, the other seven skills require further training and development. Only 13% believe they are capable of designing and programming technology, while 35% believe they have sufficient “leadership and social influence” skills.

However, only 37% said they were confident in using, monitoring and controlling technology, while 45% said they had “creativity, originality and initiative”, Questionmark revealed.

Along with this low trust in technology, the terms that most confused respondents were often related to technology; specifically, respondents cited big data (31%) and digital transformation (21%) as the most confusing or least defined.

“Do we think we are better than we are, or are we better than we think? commented John Kleeman, founder of Questionmark. “That’s the question we need to help companies answer so we can see what skills we have and where training and development is needed. It is clear that there is work to be done. »

Elsewhere, the survey also highlighted some key differences between different categories of workers, with only 38% of women believing they have leadership skills, compared to 44% of men.

Comparing age categories, 33% of 18-24 year olds said they were passionate about their work, a notable difference from the 47% of 25-55+ year olds who responded the same way.

The results highlight a pressing need for adequate training and development programs – but 66% of respondents said they felt their training was not relevant to their role. About 13% of respondents even said their training was “random and unplanned,” Questionmark found.

When it comes to finding training, 24% of workers said they were too shy to ask for help, while 42% just preferred to figure out how to do something on their own.

Questionmark urged organizations to update their training programs and introduce a cycle of new programs, which should also provide staff with the opportunity to test their skills in practical scenarios.

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