Degreed, an upskilling platform, has found that business investment in developing skills has not kept up with growing demand for new skills during the pandemic.

Its report, The State of Skills: Endangered Skills 2021, which surveyed 5,000 workers in eight global markets, highlights the skills most at risk of becoming obsolete and the sectors, countries and job roles most in danger.

The report found that the current economic uncertainty due to the covid-19 pandemic is accelerating demand for new skills among 60% of workers while nearly half (46%) of businesses have reduced their upskilling opportunities in the past six months.

Over a third (38%) of workers feel less confident they have the sills to do their job effectively, compared to pre-pandemic, and nearly half (46%) predict their current skills will be obsolete in in the next 3–5 years.

Employees reported that this is increasing stress levels and reducing their productivity and performance. When skills confidence is low, over half of workers (55%) feel more stressed, but also find that tasks take longer to complete (41%) and work is of a lower standard (22%).

Degreed CEO Chris McCarthy said: “The businesses that survive and flourish following the crisis will be different than they were before. This means workers are having to sharpen their current skills and build new ones to meet changing demand. Yet just as upskilling became vital to economic recovery, most organisations have cut investment in learning and development opportunities. We already know the global skills gap is costing trillions of dollars in lost GDP. Not to mention the impact on employee wellbeing.  

“Despite the urgent need to upskill, businesses can’t make informed decisions as they don’t have the data they need. Up-to-date information on the workforce’s skills, if it exists at all, is often spread across multiple outdated HR systems used once or twice a year for things like compensation and benefits. Without this data, businesses can’t make smart decisions about the skills they need for growth, and even if these can be sourced from existing workers within their organisation or need to be learned. By understanding the complete picture of your organisation’s existing skills and targeting your energy and investment where there are the biggest risks, you’ll have a clear focus for the road ahead, improving your odds of success – and your people’s too.”