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The Degreed ‘How the Workforce Learns 2023’ report finds 75% of learners want social engagement

New research highlights the need for social learning, supportive managers, and practical opportunities to build skills.

Degreed, the learning platform that makes lifelong learning and data-driven development easy for hundreds of companies globally, has released its How the Workforce Learns 2023 report, which uncovers the individual motivations behind learning, finds an inequality in learning opportunities offered to different employee groups, and a clear need for social engagement while learning. 

Why UK workers learn

UK workers are motivated to learn primarily to perform better at their jobs (37%) and, secondly, to prepare for their next role in the same career path (24%). They set career and learning goals primarily to improve their performance in current roles (40%), with preparing for long-term career opportunities ranking second (26%). UK workers, therefore, are treading a fine balance between building the skills needed for today’s job requirements while preparing for future career moves.

Peers are popular learning sources

When wishing to learn a new skill quickly, 35% of UK workers turn to their peers and colleagues. Half of them enjoy learning in a small group or with a colleague or peer. Beyond this, 30% of UK workers will watch videos to learn something quickly and 29% attend classes or conferences. 

Managers are supporting learning

Unlike other global respondents, the UK’s managers are more proactive in supporting their team’s learning. The majority of UK workers (71%) report that their manager supports their learning at work. Managers are also helping workers to understand what skills are needed to succeed in their profession, they are the top source at 33%, with L&D teams coming in second at 23%. 

There is room to improve learning cultures

Within UK organisations, only 57% of workers feel that they have a learning culture at work, which is the third lowest out of all respondents (with France at 55% and Germany at 40% scoring lower). This could be linked to inaccessibility of learning with low numbers of workers (68%) reporting that learning opportunities are shared equally across their organisation (again, the third lowest globally).

It may also be linked to showing tangible results and rewards for learning undertaken, as only 64% of workers feel that they have opportunities to advance their careers through learning (third lowest globally, again). Reinforcing this, a quarter (25%) of UK workers have not experienced career growth in the past three years, defined as receiving a promotion, working on a temporary assignment, switching to a new internal function, reskilling for a new career, or working with a mentor or coach. 

As a result, only 62% of UK workers feel empowered to do their best work every day, compared to 74% across all respondents globally. 

Spencer Smith, VP of Communications, Customer, and Product Marketing at Degreed emphasized the importance of understanding individual motivations in the current climate. He said,

“L&D leaders find themselves at a critical time, with increased pressure to get ahead of technological innovations like artificial intelligence that are widening the skills gap at an unprecedented pace. The Degreed How the Workforce Learns report has found that strategically aligning skill building with personal career goals and business objectives is helping organizations and individuals keep up with change.

“Making learning deeply impactful, amid economic uncertainty, is at the top of every L&D team’s priorities,” Smith said. “Bringing a social element to learning, making learning accessible to all, and reinforcing skills through practical application are some improvements uncovered by the research that L&D can implement today.” 

To read the full How the Workforce Learns report, click here.

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