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Skills Development: The Key to Improving Your Talent Experience

In the eighth edition of the Beamery Talent Index, we surveyed workers in the UK, US and Australia and uncovered what attracts people to companies, and what keeps them there. 47% of respondents said they were keen to switch jobs in the next 12 months, but priorities have shifted slightly for job seekers.  

While salary is top of mind for those considering leaving (43% mentioned this), nearly a third of those looking for a new job are doing so due to a lack of opportunities for growth and progression (32%). This jumped to 35% amongst 18-24-year-olds, who were also less likely to cite salary (33%) as a reason for wanting to leave. 

29% said they were seeking opportunities in a new sector – making it the third most common reason for wanting to leave. A desire for personal growth and development is clear.

What are some of the reasons why you are considering leaving your job in the next 12 months?

Who is pursuing learning and development opportunities? ✏️

46% of respondents (52% in the US, and 57% of those aged 25 to 34) told us they are keen to pursue learning opportunities at their workplace. 26% said they are currently doing this and 20% are looking to do so. 

Enthusiasm for L&D was consistent across all job levels, from intern to C-suite, showing that the appetite for skill acquisition doesn’t go away as you climb the corporate ladder. In a fast changing talent and technological landscape, it pays for people of all levels to invest in their own skills development.  

When we asked people what they were currently learning, it seems “hard skills” were more popular than “soft skills” – and this was certainly the case when we asked what people wanted to learn in the future. This says a lot about the fast evolving technological landscape, and perhaps the intrigue surrounding newer technologies like generative AI.  

And the desire for learning comes from a pretty positive place: Those seeking new learning opportunities said they were doing so to challenge themselves (56%), or improve their future earning potential (49%). Offering L&D opportunities can be motivating and engaging for people; it doesn’t have to be about fear. 

Why would you like to learn new skills?

Of course, many people are not currently doing training but want to – and this could be partly down to the skills development resources in their organizations. Just 29% of respondents said their current workplace had “plenty of plans or processes in place” to help them learn new skills. 28% said they had none.

Understanding & leveraging employee skills 🛠️

Providing good L&D initiatives is one thing, but many companies appear to neglect the skills they already have internally. A huge 61% of our respondents felt their full set of skills was not being utilized in their current workplace (rising to 69% amongst 18-24-year olds, and 66% amongst 25-34-year-olds). 

Do you feel your full set of skills are being utilized at your current place of work?

Moreover, just 35% felt that their employer had a full understanding of the skills they bring to the table – and only 49% said their employer had assessed their skills at the point of recruitment. 

Do you think your employer has a full understanding of the skills you have, and what you can offer to your organization?

It’s worth rethinking what we mean by “progression”. While a promotion to the “next level” is usually welcomed, and pay raises are great, learning new things is also a form of progression – and trying new types of role, in different parts of the business, can aid both skills development and the feeling of achievement.

Employers take note: better training, relevant mentors, and opening up more internal mobility options (81% of our respondents said they would be open to internal career moves in their current workplace) could help you hold on to top performers. 

Skills tech is key 💡

This all means getting a better handle on your talent data – understanding the skills you have in your business, and spotting the gaps, on an ongoing basis – and embracing new technological solutions to match people to the reskilling or redeployment opportunities they are best suited for, in line with business goals. 

This technological transformation supports the crucial cultural one: with more insights at their fingertips, and the efficiency of more automation, managers can focus on the human element: playing the role of coach and connector. 38% of our respondents said their manager was not really (or at all) active in helping them find internal opportunities.

Deep, contextual Skills Intelligence, AI-powered talent management applications and a move away from “talent hoarding” to “talent sharing” could help businesses engage and retain talent – and help employees reach their full potential in a fulfilling way. 

Explore the full Talent Index 8 report here.