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We've got good news and bad news. The good news is that business is booming, and companies are growing in industries across the board. The bad news? Hiring the talent to facilitate that growth has never been harder.
Record low unemployment rates and the emergence of new technologies — and the new and increasingly niche skills these technologies require — have made it more difficult than ever to pin down the right talent for your company. Fortunately, we’ve discovered a rich, untapped pool of talent, and its location might surprise you.
In our recent Workplace 2025 study, nearly a third of respondents told us that continually learning and developing their skills has the greatest impact on their job satisfaction. So you’re already sitting on a gold mine of skilled, pre-vetted candidates, and you have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: By empowering your staff with new digital skills, you'll ease your hiring woes and increase morale at the same time, leading to greater retention.
Here's how to make it work.
train them or lose them.
It seems like a perfect situation: Employers want teams with more technical skills, and employees want to learn those skills. But these two needs don't align as often as you'd think. In fact, a third of employee respondents said their employers don't offer enough opportunities to acquire new digital skills. And even in the organizations that do dedicate themselves to staff development, some 76 percent of them don’t provide enough support to ensure the proper utilization of newly adopted programs after the fact.
Start your upskilling journey by identifying the areas that matter most to your business. Define the technologies you're likely to invest in over the next three to five years, and determine which skills will be needed to use those tools effectively. Once you've defined your key skills, analyze your current learning and development infrastructure. How equipped is it to meet the need for increased training? Is it easily accessible? Do you have the time, resources and expertise to update it in order to reflect emerging skills?
It's a safe bet that you said "no" to at least a couple of those questions. If that's the case, you need to reset your priorities.
Look, we get it. You're busy. You're beyond busy. With more immediate day-to-day concerns bearing down on your calendar, it can be easy for training to take a back seat. And to make matters worse, the employees most eager to gain new skills and advance their careers are probably the ones who are already swamped with existing projects and responsibilities. They're your best people — and you're going to lose them if you don't make upskilling a priority.
change starts at the top.
Strengthening your workforce with new skills may not feel like the most urgent need, but if neglected now, it could pose significant problems in terms of employee retention down the road. Ninety percent of employee respondents said they were interested in learning new digital skills to further their careers. That's a large pool of professionals who, if you don’t upskill, are likely to become dissatisfied and look for better opportunities elsewhere. The change that needs to happen — and the communications that convey that message to your organization — starts with you.
Ensure all teams across your business are united around the same goal of new skill development, and work with leaders at all levels to put new programs in place that empower your staff with new technical abilities. Communicate to managers the importance of professional development, and foster dialogue about how to continuously optimize your training efforts. Consider making this a formal initiative by creating a Training and Development Community within your organization, made up of people at multiple professional levels, and ensure that every business function is represented. This will enable a diverse perspectives on training and a variety of viewpoints on what skills matter most within every team.
No matter the size of your organization, instituting a cultural shift in how you approach training will help prevent it from falling by the wayside whenever more immediate business needs arise.
Job satisfaction is critically important in today’s highly competitive labor market. If you want to retain your talent, you need to start focusing on increasing job satisfaction — but upskilling is just one piece of the job satisfaction puzzle. To find out more, check out our detailed report: Workplace Trends: The DNA of Job Satisfaction.