The Skills Gap and Virtual Reality

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the employment landscape, causing reactions from fear and uncertainty to sadness and exhaustion. These feelings, most notably exhaustion, have led to the current employment trends coined as the Great Resignation and the increasing skills gap. 

The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation represents a record number of individuals leaving their jobs in search of better pay and working conditions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over four million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 and a quarter of the American workforce plans to look for a new job post-pandemic. Zooming out, a recent study by Microsoft highlights that 40% of the global labour force considered leaving their job in 2021. These stats show just how much the employment landscape has – and will continue to – shuffle. 

The pandemic compelled many to reconsider what a healthy work-life balance genuinely means. Individuals continue to examine their day-to-day routines, growth opportunities, company culture, compensation, and job flexibility. Others evaluated existential questions, like is their work fulfilling or does it make a positive impact. 

This evolution prompts organizations to continue to evolve alongside the workforce. High-performing, result-driven company cultures may no longer be able to ignore the people and purpose-centred approaches many are willing to leave in search of. Retaining talent in an environment where 40% of the global workforce has considered leaving their job is an ever-present challenge that organizations continue to face.

In parallel, economies are looking to bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19. Because of this, a desire to upskill by those currently in the workforce and those planning to return to it exists. This opportunity isn’t just one-sided and presents employees and employers with new possibilities. 

The Skills Gap

A Gallup study found 71% of upskilled employees had greater job satisfaction, and 65% noted upskilling opportunities as an essential factor when determining whether or not to take a new job. 61% surveyed cited it as an important factor in deciding whether to remain in their current position, and 48% even deemed it worth changing jobs over. Given this, employer-led upskilling programs have become an increasingly competitive advantage in retaining talent and filling job vacancies.

Deloitte also evaluated the increasing urgency required by organizations to upskill their workforces. Their latest report found that the median lifespan of skills continues to drop due to the speed at which advancing technology changes. Skills gained in post-secondary programs may already be outdated when students head to the workforce. These rates create a more significant gap between employees’ skills and the skills employees require in their roles, limiting their potential. 

This skills gap increases organizations’ willingness to invest in their workforces. 84% of executives surveyed by Deloitte revealed their organizations had increased funding for re-skilling and re-training, and 18% of those executives described the investment as “significant.” One organization facing the challenge of the skills gap and upskilling its workforce head-on is Amazon. The company has committed an incredible 1.2 billion dollars across nine different programs to upskill over 300,000 members of its workforce.

Looking forward, employers that consciously invest in scalable training programs will reap the benefits of a workforce that can keep up with changing demands. These programs will help lessen the impact of attrition and lay the foundation for a knowledgeable, skilled, and capable workforce.

Virtual reality is proving to be an essential part of the learning technology tech stack that is helping employers meet this need, and Motive is the partner helping training teams deliver results that make a difference. The Motive VR Training Platform enables teams to create customized training that makes information retention higher, far more engaging and reduces the rate of error and employee injury.

Are you considering VR training but would like to see more proof of its benefits?
Download our white paper: The Case for Immersive Training.

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Jennifer Pastega

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