Upskilling is being stifled because too many workers consider themselves too old to learn something new.
According to research 43% of workers avoid taking a course because they believe they have been around too long to pick up new skills through courses.
Research by e-learning hub Go1 aims to highlight the current state of reskilling in the UK and how learning new skills can change people’s lives.
Among the findings were that more men believed they were too old to develop a new skill than females. Nearly half of men (46%) who believed they could not learn something new because of their age, while only 2 in 5 (40%) of women thought this was the case.
Surprisingly, when broken down by generations, 27% more millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) cited age as a learning hurdle than members of generation X (born between the early 1960s and 1980). More than half (51%) of millennials thought they were too old to learn a new skill against only 24% of generation X’s and beyond.
The motivation for 60% of respondents aged between 35-44 for upskilling was to change careers whereas among older workers (55-plus), only 22% took courses to change their careers. Younger people, born since 1999 – generation Z – were more likely to learn new skills in order to start their own businesses.
Go1 said the Covid pandemic created the conditions for a “renaissance” for learning new skills with 50% encouraged to learn more digital skills and 34% to take an e-learning course while they were furloughed.
The company’s research found, predictably that more men took a course on IT software (18%) than their female counterparts (10%), but this gap is perhaps narrower than some may expect. Women outnumbered men when it came to health, safety, and wellbeing courses with 30% taking them compared with 18% of men.
Chris Eigeland, co-founder of Go1, said the research reflected huge changes since 2019. “Seeing interpersonal and wellbeing skills so high on the list of priorities is really positive and shows how far the conversation around supportive, inclusive and empathetic workplaces has come.”
“Continued learning is one of the most important aspects of our professional and personal wellbeing. Our research shows that you’re never too old to learn, to change careers or even to launch your own business.”
One unexpected finding from the research was that while the “great resignation” has been much discussed there was also a “great incorporation” under way, with a record number of people in the UK launching businesses in 2021. Data from Companies House showed 810,316 new businesses were incorporated, an increase of 21%
The Go1 data showed that a third of people undertaking training took the view that the new skills may help them launch their own company. It also claimed that learning led to better mental health and that courses on soft skills such as listening and empathy were among the more popular.
Of the top five e-learning courses, people and communication skills (13%) was followed by leadership (11%).
The survey, carried out by Censuswide, was of 1,000 UK workers.
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