Editorial Team

Simplilearn, the world’s number one Online Bootcamp for digital economy skills training, published the findings of its midyear survey report titled ‘State of Upskilling in 2021′. The survey was conducted to understand learners’ experience in the past 12 months and their expectations for the coming year. The survey was conducted with over 2500 learners comprising both individual and corporate learners who participated in the same. 20% of the respondents were freshers, 47% were mid-level employees, and 33% were senior-level professionals. The survey covered employees working in BFSI, Consulting, IT, Manufacturing, Pharma/ Healthcare, and other industries.

As a part of the survey, the respondents shared what career obstacles they faced, how the pandemic impacted their careers, what they did differently in the past year to compensate for the same, what effect those changes had on them, and what new skill areas they focused on or planned to study.

Learner experience in the past 12 months:

● 30% of respondents said lacking key skills is an obstacle that held them back in their career

● In terms of the pandemic impact on career plans, 31% of respondents said they feel stuck due to the effect of the pandemic

● 65% of respondents said they enrolled in upskilling in the past year to strengthen their career

● Most respondents learned or planned to learn the following new skills – Data & AI (48%), Project Management and Scrum (34%), Cloud Computing/DevOps (32%), and Digital Marketing (21%)

About The Future:

Regarding the outlook for the future, how learners see the next year shaping up for themselves, the industry, and the world, and their next steps in building momentum in their careers:

● 85% of respondents look forward to post-pandemic recovery and growth

● 57% of respondents said upskilling themselves is the next step in their career development plan

● Learners cited lacking key skills as an obstacle as they are less likely to get new jobs or be assigned vital projects without those skills

Speaking on the state of upskilling, Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn, said, “The pandemic has created a new world of work, and while the nature of jobs may change given automation and technological intervention, one thing is certain: everyone, irrespective of their age, will have to spend time on either upskilling or reskilling. Every conceivable job will have new technologies to learn going forward as these roles fit and refit into a changing economic landscape. To embrace this change and grow successfully, one must stay motivated and put in efforts towards making learning a lifetime priority.”

He added, “Given the rapid changes in the professional landscape, employees across industries must understand how they can adapt to rapidly changing conditions. At the same time, companies have to learn how to match those workers to new roles and activities. This dynamic is about more than remote working or the role of automation and AI. It’s about how leaders can reskill and upskill the workforce to deliver new business models.”

Optimism is the main sentiment across all respondent demographics:

One exciting insight is that respondents across demographics believe that opportunities are open to people at all experience levels and of any gender. They believe that barriers based on gender or experience level are reducing across industries. Though there remains a disparity in gender participation in well-paying digital economy roles, companies and institutions actively seek to close the gap. In addition, many companies and organizations are placing more emphasis on skills rather than on academic credentials, which makes it easier and more effective for individuals to use upskilling to accelerate their career development.

● Overall, 85% of respondents are optimistic about the future

● People of all genders and all job experience levels are optimistic about recovery from the pandemic

● Of all the industry sectors, people in BFSI are very optimistic that there will be a post-pandemic boom

● People across all company sizes are optimistic about recovery from the pandemic, although those in mid-sized companies (501-2,000 employees) are a little more cautious and somewhat less certain about the recovery

Improving career prospects and seeking skills in Digital Economy:

● People looking for a new job opportunity (49% of respondents) were most interested in upskilling in Data & AI (56%), Project Management and Scrum(36%), and Cloud Computing & DevOps (33%)

● Those planning to do better in their current roles (27% of respondents) were most interested in Data & AI (46%), Cloud Computing & DevOps (43%), and Project Management and Scrum (41%)

Skilling trends across companies of size and scale:

Building a culture of continuous learning has several important benefits for enterprises as well as their employees. Trends with learners in companies of various sizes include the following.

● Large enterprises emphasize continuous learning

● Nearly one-third of people in small companies (50 or fewer employees) took a chance on changing their career paths

● 40% of people in midsize (501 to 2,000 employees) and very large companies (over 10,000) reported feeling stuck, higher than in other sized companies

● 47% of people in companies with 2,001 to 10,000 employees were more likely to upskill in their current work area, the highest percentage of any company size group

Opportunities based on the industry sectors:

Digitally-mature industry sectors are seen to offer more opportunities and less career stagnation. Some of the key findings of the survey include:

● Of the various industry sectors, people in manufacturing (45%), BFSI (39%), and Information Technology (38%) were more likely to upskill for their current work.

● 33% of people in BFSI chose to opt for more opportunities

● 39% of people in BFSI and 30% in manufacturing took on more responsibilities in their current roles.

● At 47%, people working in Pharma and Healthcare were most likely to report feeling stuck.

● At 29%, people in Pharma were most likely to wait and watch.

Most learners understand that upskilling is crucial, and the overall demographic is mainly optimistic for the future. In addition to learners’ individual efforts, companies should craft a talent strategy that develops employees’ critical digital and cognitive capabilities, social and emotional skills, and adaptability and resilience. That will help the workforce cater to the needs of new-age business models. Ultimately, upskilling and reskilling are the keys to a better career in 2021 and in the years to come.

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