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.