‘Career lockdown’ threatens future workforce skills

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Analysis

By s1jobs

With remote work looking set to remain the mandatory default for many months to come, concern is rising among employees anxious about a lack of training and career opportunities in the coming year.

This unease is particularly acute among those under the age of 30, according to research by Japanese multinational Sharp Corporation. Its recent survey of 6,000 SME office workers across the UK and Europe found although the majority in this age bracket believe remote working has made them more productive as supporting technology allows them to do their job more effectively, there is also a worrying lack of learning and development support.

Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of those under 30 said that working from home makes it hard for them to stay informed on what’s going on in the company, while 55% said they feel cut off from their team. Just over half reported that they find it difficult to stay motivated.

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Professional mentoring is vital, especially for those in the early part of their working life, so this apparent lack of direction and connection has created what researchers have dubbed “career lockdown”: the concern that prospects for progression have been put on hold.

Thinking about their experiences so far during lockdown, 63% of those under the age of 30 said opportunities for upskilling had become more important to them, with 41% saying employers should still be offering staff the chance to learn new skills through online training or company-wide workshops. But considering ongoing cashflow constraints, businesses may be reluctant to make such investments as they seek to keep a lid on costs.

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Further adding to the employment woes of the young is research from the end of last year from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) which found that a quarter of businesses have no plans to recruit anyone from the 16 to 24 age bracket in 2021. Coupled with a lack of access to training and development, and the outlook for the careers of the young look rather grim.

Yet it is vital that businesses continue to invest in the younger generation, particularly in light of Brexit, which has changed how we can recruit from outside the UK when looking to fill skills gaps across various industries. Making the commitment now to the younger generation is the right thing to do, and could also save employers a host of extra costs and headaches further down the line.

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