Less than a third of Irish workers think they have the skills to land a new job

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Accenture survey finds quarter of respondents have not undertaken any skills training in the past 12 months

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5 March 2021 | 0

According to a new survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of Accenture less than 30% of Irish workers feel ‘very well’ prepared to find a new role.

The report, Talent for Tomorrow: Reskilling to Power Ireland’s Economy, is based on a survey of over 1,000 Irish citizens and highlights the scale of the country’s skills challenges as well as attitudes and behaviours to re-skilling.

While 56 percent of respondents say they are very well equipped in their existing skills to perform at their current job, this figure fell to 28% when they were asked about their capacity to find a new job if they lost their current one. Elsewhere, just 29% of respondents said their current skill set would equip them to progress in their current role while just 27% say their current skills would contribute to their readiness for future roles as the workplace evolves.  

 

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The report finds that 75% of respondents have undertaken skills training to boost their employment opportunities in the last 12 months, while a quarter of the population have not – meaning this cohort of different groups are seemingly ill-prepared for a new era of employment, raising questions over the flexibility and capacity of Ireland’s workforce to adapt to a changing economy.  

Alastair Blair, country managing director at Accenture in Ireland, said: “A year on from the emergence of the global pandemic, the economic and social impact is evident throughout the world and across our country. Ireland needs to revisit its talent pipeline to help prepare for economic recovery and a new wave of growth. The risk is that large sections of the population will not be able to catch the wave. According to our new survey, they will miss emerging job opportunities because they lack skills which will leave a hole in the workforce that could impact Ireland’s innovation potential and attractiveness for businesses large and small, and as a place for local and indigenous businesses, as well as foreign direct investment, to thrive. 

Of the respondents who had not taken any new skills training in the past 12 months, 70% state they would not undertake training in the year ahead. This was attributed to a number of factors, including access (20% were not offered any training) and the belief that training is not something they need (19% say they have no reason to learn new skills).  

Elsewhere, 74% of those surveyed believe businesses have a responsibility to invest more in upskilling their employees. Half of the respondents feel businesses are cutting back on their commitment to investing in skills, while 44% think businesses are not willing to invest in ‘people like me’.

Although 16% of those with no training in the past 12 months feel nothing would encourage them to develop new skills, 84% say they could be motivated through various actions with funding being the top enabler (40%), while a third of respondents say they would respond to an interesting and high-quality learning experience. 

Accenture’s report also highlights the uneven impact the pandemic has had on different groups in society, particularly those who are more vulnerable, and calls for these inequalities to be addressed. 

The survey points to distinct groups for whom barriers must be removed, including 18-24-year-olds. Of this cohort, 37% say it is hard to learn new skills and more than half (55%) believe that employers are not willing to invest in training on their behalf. However, in what could be a boost to the low labour force participation rate of older age groups, nine in 10 survey respondents aged 55 or above say they could be encouraged to learn new skills if funding was available. However, nearly half (45%) have not taken any training in the last 12 months (compared to 25% on average) with 30% not seeing a need to learn new skills. 

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