Our Workforce 2020 program is winding down

As our Workforce 2020 program heads toward the finish line, we will be posting less frequently on this blog. Of course, we continue to analyze the data—we’re currently working on a short paper specific to the financial services industry, and our series of webinars will run through the next few months.

This research program has taught us a lot about what really matters to employees—Millennials and non-Millennials alike—and how much work executives need to do to meet those needs and achieve their HR goals. We hope the research we’ve documented here has both helped your company change its workforce strategies and made you consider your own needs as an employee. 

Thanks, as always, for reading. We will keep you posted as more of our papers and infographics become available, and probably won’t be able to resist the urge to post when we come across a particularly relevant article online.  Until then, you can access the reports at Oxford Economics’ Workforce 2020 landing page or the SuccessFactors project page.

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The learning mandate for retail companies

Our Workforce 2020 data shows that executives across industries are facing similar challenges when it comes to finding the talent they need. Like executives in financial services, consumer goods, healthcare, and other industries, retail executives are having difficulty recruiting employees with the right mix of skills—and are feeling limited by it.

Retail executives

Retailers should consider developing employees from the inside rather than looking outside for the right candidates. Employees today are dissatisfied with the training and tools available to them, and many say that more development opportunities would increase their loyalty and engagement with their current job.

Retail employees

Well-trained employees with up-to-date skills are essential to building stronger companies. By providing more opportunities for training and skills development, offering more opportunities to pursue educational opportunities, and creating a culture of learning, companies will be able to better-equipped to engage and retain their best employees—and build a leadership pipeline for the future.

Bridging the skills gap

For employees—Millennials and non-Millennials alike—obsolescence is a bigger concern than layoffs. But as the chart below shows, only 19% say economic uncertainty is a concern, meaning their worries are likely skills-related.

Employee job concerns

Employees are not confident in their current skill sets, especially in the Americas, where fewer than 40% say the skills they have today will be what is needed in their jobs in three years.

Employee skills in three years

Technology skills in particular will continue to lag. The need for skills like analytics, cloud, and programming/development will grow sizably over the next three years, but less than half of employees expect to be proficient with most of these key technologies.

Better training and education opportunities would benefit employees and businesses alike. Today, less than a quarter of executives say they offer education as a benefit, and incentives for pursuing educational opportunities are also uncommon. With more incentives to pursue education and participate in supplemental training programs, employees would expand their skill sets and likely inspire peers to do the same—with the added bonus of making employees happier and more engaged.

Building a happier workforce

Our Workforce 2020 data shows that employees across industries and regions are largely unsatisfied with their jobs, in terms of everything from compensation to leadership and development opportunities.

While satisfaction levels do vary country to country, fewer than half of employees surveyed in every region say they are happy with their job.

SAP Workforce satisfaction around the world

What is at stake for businesses that don’t do what it takes to keep their employees satisfied?

SAP Worforce high-performing

Companies are at risk of losing their best employees. And those who do stay in their current job despite their dissatisfaction are will likely not be the best workers—many workers we surveyed say higher compensation, better benefits, and more development opportunities would increase their loyalty and engagement with their current job.

To keep the top employees around and inspire other workers to be their best, executives need to make a point of listening to their wants and needs. Figuring out what matters most to workers will go a long way in building a strong culture, ramping up recruitment, and keeping everyone at the company loyal and engaged.

For more on what makes employees happy, check out our webinar on “What Matters Most at Work” on-demand.

Building a stronger learning culture

Our Workforce 2020 surveys show that, around the world, employees are unsatisfied with the learning culture at their companies. Fewer than half say their company retains, updates, and shares knowledge, and even fewer say their company offers incentives for pursuing further education.

Learning culture

Executives may not think their employees value learning and development opportunities, but our data shows otherwise. In fact, employees rank supplemental training programs as the top benefit after cash-based incentives like compensation, bonuses, and retirement plans. What’s more, companies’ youngest workers are concerned about their futures—36% of global Millennials say a lack of opportunities for advancement is a top job concern, and just 39% say their company has outlined a clear career path.

What is the way forward for businesses looking to build strong learning cultures? To start, companies can provide more opportunities (even informal ones) for training and skills development, offer incentives to employees for pursuing relevant educational opportunities outside the office, and create an environment in which information-sharing is encouraged and rewarded. The companies that get this right will have better-trained, more engaged employees—and a better shot at success.

Don’t miss today’s free webinar

Don’t miss the final webinar in our Workforce 2020 series today at 1 pm ET/10 am PT.

Oxford Economics’ Technology Practice Lead Ed Cone will be speaking with PwC’s Sayed Sadjady and SAP’s David Swanson on how companies are bridging the skills gap in their companies. The hosts will also be taking questions from the audience about best practices for cultivating strong learning and development programs.

Today’s attendees will earn a unit of credit toward HRCI certification. Register here.