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How the shifting economic landscape is reshaping
work and society and affecting the way people think
about the skills and training they need to get ahead
In a digital economy where the landscape of the American labor market is constantly evolving, a new national survey finds 87% of Americans overwhelmingly recognize they need to continually train and learn new skills if they want to advance in their careers and not be left behind in a continually changing workforce. Further, a strong majority believe they are responsible for leading the way.
More than half (54%) of adults currently in the labor force say that it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their life in order to keep up with the changes in the workplace, and another 33% say it is important for them to do so. In addition, two-thirds of all adults believe today’s workers have to improve their work skills more often than workers of the previous generation.
A strong majority of Americans also responded they believe the responsibility for acquiring these skills starts with the individual, with 72% saying a lot of responsibility should fall on individuals themselves. This is far greater than the percentage to which Americans hold schools, employers, or the government accountable. These views are consistent across demographic groups.
Workers are acting on this belief: more than four-in-ten employed adults (45%) say they’ve taken a class or training in the past year in order to learn, maintain, or improve their work skills.
These findings are part of a national survey released in October 2016 of more than 5,000 Americans conducted by The Pew Center Research, in association with the Markle Foundation. Markle is leading Skillful, a partnership with LinkedIn, Arizona State University, the state of Colorado, the city of Phoenix, and local employers and educators. Skillful is creating a skills-based labor market to help more Americans connect to meaningful job opportunities in the digital age.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 6, 2016) – A changing economic landscape is driving significant shifts in the American workplace. Employment opportunities increasingly lie in jobs requiring higher-level social or analytical skills, while physical or manual skills are fading in importance, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted in association with the Markle Foundation.
Not coincidentally, an analysis of government jobs data finds that employment is rising faster in jobs calling for greater preparation. The number of workers in occupations requiring average to above-average education, training and experience increased 68% from 1980 to 2015. This was more than double the 31% increase in employment in jobs requiring below-average education, training and experience.
For their part, the vast majority of U.S. workers say that new skills and training may hold the key to their future job success. New survey data find that 54% of adults in the labor force say it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace, and another 33% say it will be important to do so. Workers are acting on this belief, with 45% saying they’ve taken a class or received training in the past year to learn, maintain or improve their work skills.
Markle's Zoë Baird and Pew's Kim Parker and Lee Rainie share their insights into the results of The State of American Jobs report.
Markle’s initiative, Rework America, is focused on accelerating innovations that use the forces of technology and globalization to return opportunities to Americans in today’s rapidly changing networked economy. The State of American Jobs report by the Pew Research Center, in association with Markle, helps inform our Rework America initiative as well as Skillful, a partnership with LinkedIn, Arizona State University, the state of Colorado, the city of Phoenix, and local employers, educators, and non-profits. Skillful is creating a skills-based labor market to help more Americans connect to meaningful job opportunities in the digital age.