A Shorter Shelf Life Than Expected

The short lifespan of college-acquired professional skills points to the need for more L&D.

A new study offers one of the biggest reasons organizations should prioritize learning: The knowledge and skills new employees are coming to work with are quickly growing obsolete.

According to software maker Instructure, in a survey of more than 500 college-educated workers, 75 percent of respondents said they thought their expertise in their respective fields was rapidly becoming outdated. They reported that their time in college made them, on average, about 68 percent prepared for the careers they’d go on to pursue.

“In this increasingly technological society, relevant workplace skills are constantly evolving,” said Jared Stein, Instructure vice president of research and education, in a press release. And most of the participants agreed — 90 percent of them observing that changes in their professional fields required them to update their knowledge and develop new skills. However, only 12 percent of people said they felt like their employers were really supporting these efforts.

But this isn’t keeping employees from taking learning into their own hands. Eighty percent of workers are turning to their mobile devices for self-directed education, the survey notes.

With the study revealing that so many people feel unprepared to do their jobs effectively, it is critical for companies to make sure learning is part of their overall business strategy – to remain competitive in a shifting and fast-changing environment and to support workers in addressing the needs this new climate continues to create.

Bravetta Hassell is a Chief Learning Officer associated editor. To comment, email editor@CLOmedia.com