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Businesses urged to upskill employees to retain a stable workforce and attract top talent

UK employers should do more to make learning and development part of the working day to attract new talent and retain current staff, according to research conducted by a leading online learning provider.

According to FutureLearn’s Future of Learning report, 76% of learners who participated in the research say access to ongoing development is an important factor in considering a prospective employer. This rises to 86% of 35 to 44-year-olds, and 82% of 25 to 34-year-olds who took part in the research project. 

As the cost of living tightens its grip, organisations are also urged to consider upskilling their current workforce to stop any skill gaps, rather than going through the expense and time commitment of hiring new members of staff. 

Data released from the ONS shows that people moving jobs is at a record high, showing an increase of 994,000 resignations during Q1 (from 378,000 in Q4 2021). Alongside this, businesses investing in training sits at its lowest level since 2005, plummeting to 28%. One solution to support closing this gap is ensuring that employees feel sufficiently skilled and challenged in their jobs.

“The pandemic was an incredibly challenging time, in more ways than one. Education and training providers had to move at breakneck speed to provide online learning when lockdown hit. After we emerged from lockdowns, online learning, or hybrid ways of learning, remained and they’re here to stay,” says Andy Hancock, CEO of FutureLearn, and formally Chief Operating Officer at the MoneySuperMarket group.  

“For many the pandemic was also a time to reevaluate ways of working and their career, as well as how supported they felt by their place of work. The Great Resignation could be explained, at least in part, by people trying to find better opportunities; a better work-life balance, in addition to a better pay cheque.”

“Employers wanting to attract the right talent – and retain it – will need to use this development to stay competitive in the market, rather than resist it; they’ll gain a more highly-skilled workforce too. The war for talent is very real and many employers are looking beyond the confines of geographic proximity. Upskilling current staff, versus going through the cost of hiring a new member of staff, would be a real benefit to employers, too.”

There is also significant pressure from the government to upskill or reskill the UK workforce, to be able to keep up with the latest developments in sectors that require digital and tech skills, and through campaigns like Way to Work

In response, FutureLearn has launched their enterprise offering – a way for employers to create a bespoke package of training tailored specifically to their staff, and skills gaps within their organisation.

In addition to more bespoke offerings, participants will also have unlimited access to all FutureLearn courses – whether members of staff are looking to upskill their digital knowledge, understand how they can be more sustainable at work, or take part in wellbeing online learning modules for their own personal development. Organisations in the public and private sector can be catered for, no matter how large or small.

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