New research from RMIT Online and Deloitte Access Economics has shed light on Australia’s growing appetite for training opportunities, finding that a majority of employees would forego free lunches at work for additional training opportunities. One in five also reported favouring training over a pay increase of $50 per week.
The Ready, Set, Upskill – Effective Training for the Jobs of Tomorrow report, surveyed 1,000 Australian working professionals and employers and revealed the shortfall in training opportunities for Australia’s workforce. The report found that only around half of those surveyed had access to employer-provided training, while only 21 per cent had access to employer-subsidised courses.
The report also found a critical gap in digital skills within Australia’s workforce – specifically in areas like data analysis, blockchain, coding and artificial intelligence – with the potential to create a $10 billion deficit in the nation’s GDP unless addressed.
The findings come as many businesses look towards digitisation as a pathway to recover from the impact of COVID-19. Highlights from the report found that:
87 per cent of jobs in Australia require digital literacy skills
One-third of respondents felt their job requirements had changed with one in four concerned that their job would be made redundant
52 per cent prefer a learning culture over a fun culture at work and 38 per cent of Australians would prefer paid study leave over a promotion
23 per cent of Australians said that learning isn’t available in times/ways that suit them
Work commitments (16 per cent), cost of coursework (11 per cent) and personal commitments (i.e. caring; 8 per cent) are the top three barriers to factors keeping Australians from learning
Helen Souness, CEO at RMIT Online, said that it is the collective effort of individuals and business to remediate the digital skills gap facing the Australian workforce.
“We’ve known for some time that we were approaching a skills mismatch, and a degree completed at 22 years of age will not adequately equip individuals for a lifetime of work in a fast-changing technology environment. This report indicates that employees know this and are keen to undertake relevant, targeted training to further their careers.
“Four in five Australian business leaders agreed that adopting new technologies is critical to achieving business goals, and yet employers are also facing difficulty obtaining technical skills like 5G, blockchain, AI, machine learning and data analytics. At a whole-of-economy level, we must deliver more of these skills to our national workforce to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
“The events of last year have underlined the urgency of bridging this skills gap. Australian employers across all industries need to prioritise training and upskilling to transform, survive and thrive in the post-COVID world. This includes shifting their perspective on training to consider it as a core business activity rather than a nice-to-have.”
John O’Mahony, Partner at Deloitte Access Economics, said the research shows that Australian businesses are not yet prepared for the rapid digitisation that is going to be necessary in the post COVID-19 business world.
“We found that unless we upskill more than 150,000 people in key digital skills like AI, data analytics, blockchain and 5G we could miss $10b in GDP which would slow our recovery substantially.
“The data shows that employees themselves are enthusiastic about training for the future, and this is good news for businesses. It means that instead of having to compete for difficult to find skills in an environment of constrained international mobility, they can upskill and transform to power the post-COVID recovery.”
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