According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is at its lowest point since 1969 and job vacancies have been high for 17 years. With a tight labor market, competition for candidates with the right skills is increasing enormously. Still, many employees lack the skills needed to take advantage of new opportunities, suggests a new survey from Prudential Financial, Inc.
The fifth American Workers Survey, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of Prudential in November, found that more than one in four US employees say career development opportunities are available to them, but they lack the skills and training for these positions.
The skills gap is even more concerning for millennials: 51 percent say they fear that a lack of skills or education will negatively impact their careers over the next five years.
The biggest barriers to building those skills? According to American workers, access to training opportunities and financial concerns are at the top. For millennials, who are most likely to be new parents, more than half say that learning and developing new skills requires access to affordable childcare.
US workers expect the private sector to be at the forefront of their personal development – nearly four in five say the private sector is responsible for retraining, and nearly six in ten expect their employer to help pay for training and new skills.
"Jobs are essential to the foundation of the financial well-being of American workers," said Rob Falzon, Prudential vice president. “Right now, a skills gap is emerging. There is competition for talent, but at the same time, jobs are changing due to disruption. Ensuring employees have the right skills to fill these jobs is critical to their future financial well-being. "
Prudential has addressed the challenge through many initiatives, including investments in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, its program with Workplace Opportunity Services to train veterans and military spouses for the civilian workforce, and its partnerships with local universities shaping educational experiences and guiding students for careers in financial services and information technology.
"The future of work is already here," said Falzon. "Employers must create opportunities to strengthen our workforce by increasing the flexibility and mobility of employees."