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UK workforce is “unprepared and unskilled” for future of work, survey finds

Online assessment provider Questionmark highlights low confidence in technology skills amongst workers

New research has revealed that around 30% of UK workers believe they lack the skills required for the modern workplace.

The survey, which matched existing skills against those identified by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as being vital to modern economies, reveals a disconnect between skills required for the future, and current confidence amongst workers, according to online assessment provider Questionmark.

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Out of the top ten skills businesses are said to need by 2025, only three were confidently possessed by more than half of those surveyed – problem solving, critical thinking, and resilience.

For UK organisations, the other seven skills require further training and development. Just 13% believe that they are capable in technology design and programming, while 35% believe they have sufficient ‘leadership and social influence’ skills.

However, just 37% said they are confident in technology use, monitoring, and control, while 45% say they have ‘creativity, originality, and initiative’, Questionmark revealed.

Alongside this low confidence in technology, the terms that most confused respondents were often tech-related; specifically respondents cited Big Data (31%) and Digital Transformation (21%) as being the most confusing or least defined.

“Do we think we’re better than we are, or are we better than we think?” commented Questionmark founder John Kleeman. “That’s the question that we need to help businesses to answer so that we can see what skills we’ve got and where training and development is needed. It’s clear there is work to be done.”

Elsewhere, the survey also highlighted some key differences between different worker categories, with just 38% of women believing that they have leadership skills, compared to 44% of men.

When comparing age categories, 33% of 18-24 said they were passionate about their work, a notable difference from the 47% of 25-55+ year olds that responded the same way.

The results highlight a pressing need for adequate training and development programmes – but 66% of respondents said they felt their training was not relevant to their role. Around 13% of respondents even said that their training was “random and unplanned”, Questionmark found.

In terms of seeking training, 24% of workers said they were too embarrassed to ask for support, while 42% preferred to just find out how to do something for themselves.

Questionmark has urged organisations to refresh their training schemes and introduce a cycle of new programmes, which should also provide opportunities for staff to test their skills in practical scenarios.

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