With more learning resources available to the workforce than ever before, the prospect of lifelong learning isn’t as daunting as it used to be. As industries modernise in line with technological and societal changes, it is no longer feasible to expect learning to end the day you leave school, college, or university. The good news is that there is a plethora of options suitable for all types of learners, and a vast array of benefits for those who remain dedicated to expanding their knowledge. These include better prospects, job security, and even a clearer understanding of the digital landscape, upon which we are becoming ever more reliant upon.
Keeping Up with Changing Tech
‘Every company is a tech company’, as the saying goes. In a relatively short period of time, we have seen virtually every single industry transform its output, powered by technological advancements.
As a result, the tools we use to carry out our jobs are ever-changing, further determining that lifelong learning is a necessity in the modern world. And with only 38% of UK employers stating that they have the digital skills within to meet their companies’ objectives, it is vital that this gap is bridged to ensure businesses can remain competitive and successful, while ensuring as many opportunities as possible are available to individuals.
The Good Things Foundation recently reported that, if action isn’t taken, 7.9 million people in the UK could find themselves without these skills by the year 2025. Solving this issue has become even more important in the wake of the pandemic and its aftermath, given that the prominence of remote working has resulted in an even bigger reliance on tech to collaborate and communicate with colleagues and customers.
Not only this, but more companies than ever are beginning to rely on sophisticated technology such as AI for internal and external needs, which means wider knowledge of tech is becoming even more crucial. To remain a valuable and sought-after member of your industry, digital skills are becoming non-negotiable. It is due to this that a commitment to learning across innovative technologies will put you in great stead to thrive.
Gain a Competitive Edge
Although it is a great start, keeping up with tech changes is not the only way to maintain a competitive edge. Inevitably, as time passes, industries experience fundamental shifts. Remaining ahead of them will ensure that you are the first to act and adapt to the needs of your clients and customers.
As Timenext reports, all 100 of ‘Forbes Top 100 Best Companies to Work For’ invest in employee development. Individuals who work for these companies thrive in terms of productivity and industry knowledge, which gives them the edge as part of their company, but also in the eyes of their sector, allowing them wider opportunities in terms of prospects and promotions.
It is also important to note here that companies attract their best talent over competitors by investing in learning too. The key to staff retention is largely in a business’s ability to provide training. This is demonstrated by a survey from Deloitte, which said that 42% of workers were likely to leave if they felt they weren’t learning fast enough.
Gain Advancements and Security
One of the most obvious ways a lifelong learner may experience a fruitful career is by improving the likelihood of regular promotions and job security. The more you know, the more valuable you are to your employer, which will ultimately lead to better scope for you to shape your career in the way you want to. In fact, in a Pew Research Institute Survey, 47% of workers believed that their lifelong learning was key to securing their various promotions. This stat makes sense, given that those who are concerned with their own learning and development are dedicated to their careers and have a heightened knowledge, compared to those who spend less time investing in training and self-development.
Looming skills shortages will put learners in an even better position to negotiate pay, job titles and more, as they will become an even more precious asset to their companies, and will certainly land themselves on competitors’ radars also.
Inspire Your Self-Confidence
Lifelong learning grants us self-confidence. We all know how it feels to receive a question from a client or colleague that we don’t quite have a response for. And while we can’t have all the answers, being confident in our knowledge and our commitment to learning gives us a positive boost.
As mentioned, being self-assured in what you know is also a solid way to inspire other’s confidence in you. With that comes gestures like pay rises, career advancement and praise from peers, encouraging you further along the path in your chosen field. This is a notion backed by Saamah Abdallah, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation Centre for Wellbeing. He notes that learning can boost self-esteem by providing proof of your abilities and a greater sense of autonomy. These are outstanding qualities to have in the workplace, and are certainly desired by successful companies.
A meaningful way to capitalise on your self-confidence is by creating learning goals, logging the learning you do and reflecting on what you have experienced. All of which will further reinforce your progress.
You’ve got this!
The reality is, if you take your career seriously you need to consider the effort you are putting into your continuous development. Not only will it set you apart from the crowd as skills shortages become apparent, but it will show a dedication and attitude that will serve you well across different companies and specialisms should you ever decide to move on. The truth is there is so much more beyond job prospects that training offers, including a reignited passion for your industry.
By Brett Shanley, Founder and CEO of Knoma, The Knowledge Marketplace