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Concerned about The Great Resignation? Time to start upskilling your teams…

The great resignation is upon us. Around the world, workers are leaving their jobs in record numbers, with the UK topping 1 million vacancies for the first time between June and August. In the US, 10 million jobs were ‘available’ at the end of June.

In 2020, employees tended to stay put for fear of the pandemic putting pay to any career move, but what we’ve seen this year is a significant shift in attitudes. A study carried out by Microsoft found that 41% of the global workforce planned to leave their employer this year as employees reassess what’s important to them after 18 months like no other.

Look into some of the stats a little closer, and interestingly Gen Z and Millennial talent are the most likely to consider leaving their current role, with 31% and 27% stating this was their intention last year.

As competition for the best talent in the market hots up, retention is more of a key consideration for organisations than ever before. Research from Monster.com in July found that 86% of workers feel that their career stalled because of COVID-19, while 80% feel that their current employers don’t offer a chance to progress.

Tapping into insight like this could be the key for companies to combat potential resignations and signal their commitment to their employees. Reassessing what’s important to their staff and making changes to the opportunities they provide their teams could be key to making them stay.

The appetite to learn and develop is there

The good news for employers is that their teams want to develop their skills and learn, so any increased investment in the opportunities for them to do so is appreciated. 

In fact, a Salesforce report found 72% of respondents said they’d be more engaged with their work if their company increased investment in learning and development, while 69% would be happier with their work. Importantly, two-thirds said they’d be more likely to stay with their employer if they had access to more opportunities to learn and develop their skills.

This appetite to learn is beneficial both as much for the business as it is the individual. Looking to the future, businesses will need staff who can understand technologies they continue to use, as well as staff who can interpret and act on the wealth of data that’s available through apps and services.

Level up your staff equally

The impact of the pandemic was felt the most by female employees who were more likely than their male counterparts to be put on furlough and more likely leave a job or reduce their hours due to childcare commitments.

This impact was also felt when it came to learning and developing over the recent months, with fewer opportunities for female employees. 65% said in a Qualtrics report that they received no professional development and career training last year vs 53% of men, while 72% of females received no networking or mentoring opportunities over the same period compared with 55% of men.

It’s therefore particularly important for organisations to provide digital training and development opportunities for people whose careers are more likely to have been adversely impacted by the pandemic – women especially.

Make development part of the company DNA

Remote workforces and hybrid approaches looks set to stay for the long-term. As such, companies will have to start rethinking the perks and benefits they offer to attract and retain their staff.

It’s a critical area for attracting new talent, with research from Amdocs finding that 90% of respondents indicated that when searching for a new job, it’s very important to them that the company offers a strong training and upskilling programme. This jumped to 97% for tech-specific respondents.

In a short poll we ran at Digital Republic, free breakfast/lunch came out on top as the least valuable benefit offered by employers in the modern workforce. In contrast, budget that was set aside for training and development was valued as the most beneficial among respondents. Although involving only a fraction of today’s workforce within the tech and digital sectors, the result backs up the shift in priority when it comes to perks and benefits. 

Employees want to know they have the potential to advance their careers, learn new skills and become better at their jobs, so embedding a culture of learning and development into the business, and committing budget to these opportunities, reinforces the commitment to them.

It’s safe to say then that for businesses to hang on to their staff and attract new talent training and development opportunities need to be a key component in their strategy.  Offering them the right resources and access to learning can add value not only to their long-term career, but to the organisation itself. 

With the effect of The Great Resignation still to be truly understood, those organisations that are focusing their efforts on upskilling their staff are reaping the reward of an engaged workforce and safeguarding their talent for the future.

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