Global tech sector among the most at risk from growing skills gap, report reveals

The Endangered Skills 2021 report by Degreed reveals the job roles and industries where business recovery from COVID-19 is most at risk

The global technology sector is among those most at risk of the growing employee skills gap, a report by Degreed has revealed.

Delving into the job roles and industries that will be most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the report shows that investment in professional development has failed to meet heightened demand for new skills during the ongoing crisis.

While there’s no exact way to measure the damage COVID-19 has caused to the global economy, most economists agree that the negative impact will be severe. According to predictions published by Statista in November last year, economists reduced their 2020 forecasts for economic growth from approximately 3% to 2.4%; however, it must be noted that these predictions were made prior to the outbreak becoming a pandemic, and before subsequent lockdowns and restrictions were introduced. As such, the situation is likely to be much worse than first thought.

Surveying 5,000 workers in eight global markets, The State of Skills: Endangered Skills 2021 report sheds light on the skills that are now most at risk of becoming obsolete, as well as the sectors, countries and professions facing the greatest threat. It’s thought that the findings can be harnessed by employers to help them target upskilling investments in areas that would benefit them most.

“…just as upskilling became vital to economic recovery, most organisations have cut investment in learning and development opportunities” – Chris McCarthy, CEO, Degreed

The report shows that, despite the decline in the global economy at large, the pandemic is accelerating demand for new skills among 60% of workers; yet, almost half (46%) of businesses have cut upskilling opportunities in the last six months.

Consequently, businesses around the world are experiencing a widening skills gap, with over a third (38%) of the report’s respondents claiming they aren’t confident they possess the skills to perform their job effectively, and almost half (46%) believing that their current skillset will become outdated in the next 3–5 years.

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Employees state that this is greatly increasing their levels of stress, reducing their productivity and performance, thus negatively affecting the businesses they work for.

When employees lack confidence, more than half (55%) feel more stressed, often finding it takes longer to complete tasks (41%) and that the finished product is of a lower standard (22%). Almost half (46%) of international respondents also state that they’re likely to leave their current employer should they fail to provide them with chances to upskill.

In terms of the specific countries, industries and professions that are most at risk of the growing skills gap, the report confirmed them as such:

  • Sectors: expertise in the fields of technology, telecoms, finance, and engineering face the threat of becoming obsolete
  • International: India, France and Brazil are the top three countries in which employees are most at risk of a skills mismatch
  • Professions: IT and HR professionals currently possess the most ‘endangered’ skills and are most in need of upskilling opportunities

Chris McCarthy, CEO of Degreed, commented: “The businesses that survive and flourish following the crisis will be different than they were before. This means workers are having to sharpen their current skills and build new ones to meet changing demand. Yet, just as upskilling became vital to economic recovery, most organisations have cut investment in learning and development opportunities. We already know the global skills gap is costing trillions of dollars in lost GDP. Not to mention the impact on employee wellbeing.

“Despite the urgent need to upskill, businesses can’t make informed decisions as they don’t have the data they need. Up-to-date information on the workforce’s skills, if it exists at all, is often spread across multiple outdated HR systems used once or twice a year for things like compensation and benefits. Without this data, businesses can’t make smart decisions about the skills they need for growth, and even if these can be sourced from existing workers within their organisation or need to be learned.”


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