Overwork and stress stop UK employees learning new skills

There is huge demand for learning new skills among the British workforce, but a range of obstacles – topped by overwork and stress – prevent many employees from taking up training.

According to a poll of 1,000 people published by the TUC today, just under one in three (29%) said they don’t have time for training because they have to look after children or have other caring responsibilities.

The same proportion (29%) said their current job has such long hours or is so stressful that they do not have the time or energy to take up a course.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to say they have caring responsibilities that stop them taking up training.

Just under one in three women (29%) say help with childcare would encourage them to take up training (only one in six men – 16% cite this), while one in three women (33%), compared to one in five men (22%), say that more support from a spouse or partner would help.

Other findings:



  • Nearly four out of five (77%) back paid time off from work, one in three (32%) would take time off even if it meant losing pay, and more than two in five (42%) say less overtime (paid or unpaid) would help them take up more training.
  • More than half the workforce (52%) say that they would like their employer to provide more training, and two in five (42%) say they would like to take up training outside work that would help them get a better job.

Views vary considerably across the age range:



  • The older the worker the more satisfied he/she is with the training they get (81% of 55-64 year olds are satisfied compared to 73% of 16-24 year olds).
  • Younger people are keener to learn (70% of 16-24 year olds want to train compared to 39% of 45-54 year olds and just 19% of 55-64 year olds).

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