Employees are upskilling themselves in the face of digitalization, according CGS Learning Survey

March 11, 2020
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CGS, a provider of business applications, enterprise learning, and outsourcing services, recently announced findings examining the role of employers in preparing employees for automation from its CGS Emerging Workplace Learning Trends Survey.

According to a recent Gartner report, 56 percent of business and IT leaders say workers will need to acquire new skills to do existing and new jobs as artificial intelligence (AI) use grows. The CGS survey results show that employees are a bit ahead of this trend with 61 percent of employees aware of or ready for AI and automation. Their views on the value of college, the fluid nature of job roles and how proactive they are in driving forward skills development has a strong correlation to how confident they are in future-proofing their skills.

While successful employees appear to be taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to upskilling to prepare for the future and scale skills-building consistently, employers will need to take the lead in training their workforce in the age of AI.

CGS surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to better understand their preferences around their views on the value of college, skills confidence, changing job roles, employer-led education and how they are being trained for new technologies, including AI. Key findings from the survey include:

The potential effects of AI on work differs for employees based on schooling

As organizations navigate the role of new technologies in the workplace, they will also be responsible for helping employees become comfortable with digital transformation. Throughout this process, they should consider that the level of education affects a worker’s perception of AI and automation and employees of different backgrounds will feel differently. More than two-thirds (65 percent) of professionals who obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher have a positive view of AI and automation, and 32 percent feel these technologies will not affect their jobs at all. For workers without a college degree, 39 percent are concerned that this technology could replace their jobs. Organizations will need to communicate with their employees on how these new technologies are benefiting their work-life; not hurting it.

The most confident workers in today’s economy seek upskilling on their own, while the most vulnerable wait for companies to provide training  

The workers who are the most confident in their level of job skills (38 percent) are also the ones taking the initiative to seek out training and refine their skills on their own. But regardless of confidence, employers must prioritize continuous education for their workforce. In the era of new technologies, employers need to consider that most of their employees were never trained on how to use AI in school. Similarly, when workers were asked which college skills are the most relevant and transferable to their everyday jobs, the majority (58 percent) said problem-solving and critical thinking. As companies look to provide valuable learning and development opportunities for workers, they should prioritize training programs that address the technical skills gap, institute a learning-to-learn culture because employees are doing it themselves and prepare their workforce to take advantage of smart technologies.

If workers could choose college and their career paths again, their major considerations would be today’s climate of ever-changing skills

If workers could use a time machine, an overwhelming majority would reconsider their college and career paths. In reselecting their college education or career path today, nearly half (44 percent) of respondents said they would heavily factor the ever-changing skills currently required. Employers clearly need to be continuously reskilling workforce: 27 percent of respondents said that they would be most concerned about the tight job market if they were to choose their path again. Technology is also causing some anxiety, with 50 percent of men and 29 percent of women saying they would consider automation and AI technology proliferation in their college decision. Workers would also consider cost of college (42 percent), market disruption (17 percent) and climate change (13 percent) as key factors.

“As businesses embark on their digital transformation journeys to maintain a competitive edge, they will need to assess how to meet changing skills needs and workers’ expectations of on-the-job training and development,” said Doug Stephen, president, Learning division, CGS. “Companies must also ensure they are helping workers become comfortable with learning to learn and emerging technologies. With the ever-increasing role of technology in the workplace, it will be critical in the years ahead for organizations to upskill workers with employer-led training initiatives.”

The CGS Enterprise Learning division serves as a trusted partner to many of the world’s most dynamic companies, delivering innovative, custom learning solutions essential to scaling people, processes, and performance. Through tech-forward engaging programs, leveraging AI, AR/VR, machine learning and gamification, CGS provides professional development solutions, blending emerging technology with essential shoulder-to-shoulder training. Each solution is custom-tailored and designed to engage employees and keep clients’ employee-related business fundamentals strong in an ever-changing corporate environment.


March 11, 2020

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