From education to employment

Nearly half of lower-skilled employees say they are not supported in their development, new research shows

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Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today published new research revealing that almost half of lower-skilled employees in the UK do not receive any support for their development from their employers.

Conducted by YouGov for BITC and supported by Phoenix Groups, the research found that 45% of lower-skilled employees reported that they do not receive any support for their development from their employers, compared to just 14% of higher-skilled employees.

The research also found that compared to their higher-skilled colleagues, lower-skilled workers are far less likely to be offered:

  • Performance appraisals (14% vs 47%)
  • Regular line management meetings (13% vs 36%).
  • Management/supervisor feedback (10% vs 35%)
  • Colleague/team feedback (12% vs 29%)
  • Objectives and development targets (7% vs 34%)
  • Structured training programmes (10% vs 20%)

In addition, the research found that 26% of lower-skilled employees are less likely to have been encouraged to gain the skills needed for more senior roles compared to 57% of those with higher skills.

Development is a key aspect of social mobility and ensures opportunities are open to all employees across the UK, regardless of background. That’s why BITC, in collaboration with Phoenix Group, is calling for all employers to upskill employees at every level of their organisation and ensure that every employee, regardless of role or location, has the opportunity to grow their skillset. 

Kate Carr, Employment & Skills Manager at Business in the Community, said:

“It is unacceptable that lower-skilled employees are not being supported by their employers to grow their skillsets and to progress in their careers. Life-long learning is an important part of life and crucial to making the UK a fairer place to live and work, but it’s clear from this research that employers have some work to do to ensure that they are developing people at all levels of their organisations. Investing in skills is not only the right thing to do, but it is also critical if employers want to attract and retain talented employees with the right skills for their business.

Catherine Foot, Director of Phoenix Insights, said:

“At Phoenix Group we share BITC’s belief that learning should be available to all employees regardless of skills level, seniority or sector. Breaking down barriers to lifelong learning can increase productivity, accelerate growth and enable people to stay in fulfilling work for longer, helping people to continue to earn an income and save for their future.”

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