Sep. 30, 2019 | Press Release

New Research: Employers and Employees Agree There is an Upskilling Crisis, Both Want Managers to Be More Effective

New Research: Employers and Employees Agree There is an Upskilling Crisis, Both Want Managers to Be More Effective

CHICAGO – As work becomes increasingly digital and automated, this new environment requires updated skills. Yet, both employers and employees detect a sizable skills deficit. More than half – 56 percent – of organizations believe they have a moderate to severe skills gap today, and 60 percent of employees believe that, to some extent, their current skill set will become outdated in the next three to five years. 

These are among the key findings in a new report, “The Upskilling Crisis: Effectively Enabling and Retraining Employees for the Future,” released today by West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consultancy.

“The urgency for upskilling comes at a time when emerging skill sets are scarce and the talent market is tight – making it prudent to keep people even if they don’t have the right skills right now,” said Michael Hughes, managing director and leader of West Monroe’s Operations Excellence practice. “Indeed, it’s often cheaper to retrain current employees than find and hire new ones, as the consequences of turnover can be felt at the bottom line.”

In the past year, 70 percent of organizations have introduced at least one new technology designed to increase employee capacity. Employers and employees agree these employee-enablement tools create value. Among employers, 78 percent say enablement technology makes the organization more efficient, and 71 percent say it increases productivity. Sixty-one percent of employees believe technology helps them deliver a higher quality of work output, while 56 percent agree that it allows them to work more efficiently and frees time for additional tasks. 

Enabling managers will be key to addressing technology adoption, disruption, and upskilling challenges. Many organizations, however, are missing the mark, as 63 percent have not equipped managers with upskilling resources. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed feel the people responsible for leading the way during change – managers and senior leaders – need upskilling and reskilling, themselves. Furthermore, 43 percent believe managers don’t know how to upskills and reskill employees, and another 39 percent feel they don’t have the time to do so.

"The survey results strongly support the need for significant investment in manager development and enablement if organizations are to realize the impact of digital transformation on the bottom line,” said Hughes. “The results also point to the importance of human-centered design in their approach to upskilling. Before implementing any sort of enablement technology, organizations need to consider the employee journey and how the selected tool(s) will add value – but only 16 percent of those surveyed do so consistently.”

West Monroe partnered with the Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group, the research arm of Human Capital Media, to conduct a pair of surveys on employer and employee attitudes toward upskilling and employee enablement technologies. More than 430 people at the manager level and above, across various industries, participated in the employer survey; 1,000 people participated in the employee survey, representing a wide range of industries and job levels across the United States.

A full copy of the report is available here.

About West Monroe Partners
West Monroe is a national business and technology consulting firm that partners with dynamic organizations to reimagine, build, and operate their businesses at peak performance. Our team of more than 1,400 professionals is comprised of an uncommon blend of business consultants and deep technologists. This unique combination of expertise enables us to design, develop, implement, and run strategic business and technology solutions that yield a dramatic commercial impact on our clients’ profitability and performance. For more information, visit  

Media Contact

Christina Galoozis 

About Human Capital Media

The Human Capital Media (HCM) Research and Advisory Group is the research division of Human Capital Media, publisher of Chief Learning Officer, Talent Economy and Workforce magazines. The Research and Advisory Group specializes in partnered custom content solutions—customizable and proprietary deliverables that integrate seamlessly with existing marketing programs. Our proprietary Talent Tracker data service gives practitioners point-of-need data analytics access to inform strategic HR decisions. By leveraging access to senior-level decision-makers and identifying industry trends, the HCM Research and Advisory Group can deliver keen insight into all areas of L&D, talent and HR.

Media Contact
Sarah Kimmel

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