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Build Your Career Get Ahead

For Workers, Skills Gap Hits Home

For Workers, Skills Gap Hits Home
Credit: Cigdem/Shutterstock

Employees are losing confidence that they'll have the skills they'll need to succeed in the future, new research finds.

Although employers have long lamented employee skill gaps, employees are now starting to worry about the problem from their perspective, according to a new study by Spherion Staffing.

One third of the workers surveyed in the study said they think their current skills don't measure up to what will be needed for future success. In addition, 36 percent of employees don’t feel their current skills will help them attain a promotion.

"We've known that employers have been dealing with the skills-gap issue for a long time," Sandy Mazur, Spherion's division president, said in a statement. "But with this new data capturing the average worker's perspective, we know this issue is on track to become a critical threat to economic success."

So, who is to blame for the skills gap? More than 30 percent of workers said they don't think they've been properly trained by their employer, and more than three-quarters said employers should be doing a better job of providing them with a clear career development path.

Employers, however, believe they are taking the necessary steps to help provide their workers with the skills they'll need for the future. Nearly 80 percent of the businesses surveyed have put more training and development programs in place in recent years in an effort to increase retention. [LinkedIn Study Reveals the Skills Employers (Really) Want ]

What employers and employees generally agree on is what specific skills will be needed for future success. Both groups said problem solving and strategic thinking are the top skills that will be required for employment in the next five years.

Evolving technology expertise, team building and the ability to understand and interpret data are among the other skills employees and employers said will be needed in the future.

It's up to employees and employers to take joint responsibility in solving the skills-gap problem, Mazur said.

"Workers should understand where businesses are headed and what skills they'll need to help close the gap, while employers should examine their workers' skill levels to focus on training that will be helpful and useful for them," Mazur said. "This type of training also has long-lasting impacts on the workforce, including greater retention, engagement and a more positive impact on business success."

The study was based on surveys of 225 U.S. human-resources managers and 2,027 employed adults in the United States.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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