2023 International Barometer: Transformation, skills and learning

Published on : 15/11/2023
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Each year, Cegos conducts a ‘Barometer’ survey, where we take the temperature of the training industry to see what is hot and what is not among the HR and business community.

This year, we observe the rising impact of technology on learning needs and training delivery. AI is certainly being taken seriously by many in the HR field, especially in Asia. Yet it seems HR managers struggle to articulate how this AI trend translates directly into skills development.

For the 2023 survey, Cegos interviewed 5,048 employees and 488 HR and Training directors across five European countries – France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, along with Singapore in Asia and Brazil, Mexico and Chile in Latin America.

Two major themes emerge from the survey results:

1. Employees and HR are focusing on skills development to meet the major challenges of organisational transformation

Transformations in technology and society are still seen by HR managers as having a major impact on employee skills development. 48% of international HR managers say that artificial intelligence and data is the most prominent concern.

As a result of technological acceleration, notably with the rise in the power of AI and data management, 74% of employees surveyed believe these challenges will change the content of their work. 79% of managers say this especially relevant to them.

On a related note, 30% of international employees fear their job will disappear. This fear is greatest in Singapore (43%), Brazil (39%) and among workers (39%).

4 out of 10 employees admit to feeling overwhelmed by technology. This trend is rising sharply – up 8% on the 2022 barometer – which may explain why strengthening digital skills is imperative for 42% of international HR respondents, particularly in Europe (44%). This is followed by soft skills (38%).

62% of employees and 63% of HR managers agree that skills development should be shared equally between the organisation and the employee. Indeed, 59% of employees say they are prepared to finance part of the associated costs themselves, while 76% would be willing to take part in training outside their working hours.

Markedly, ecological transition does not feature among the priorities of international HR, ranking ninth in the list of issues identified for the coming years. This potentially reflects their difficulties in grasping ecological upheavals and integrating them into their L&D strategy.

"This 2023 edition is marked by the emergence of generative artificial intelligence, which is quoted as the leading transformation driver impacting skills,” says Christophe Perilhou, Director of Learning & Solutions at the Cegos Group. “In the short term, Learning & Development players will have to mobilise strongly to offer training solutions on three levels: raising employee awareness on a massive scale to demystify this topic, developing the technical skills needed to perform AI-related jobs, and applying AI to business lines through clearly identified use cases.”

2. There is greater demand for on-the-job, just-in-time training, tailored to individuals

85% of employees say their organisation meets their skills development needs. However, 41% of them feel their organisation meets their needs ‘just in time’, while 44% of them say this often comes too late; several weeks or months after they have shared their requirements.

When asked about changes that should be made to the training courses provided by their company to better develop their skills, employees and HR have different views. Brining training closer to their day-to-day work is the primary expectation of international employees. They want training that is operational, more useful, and directly transposable to their work situation. This expectation is less important among technicians (39%) and workers (39%).

Artificial intelligence is a driver for individualising training paths. 63% of international HR professionals are considering using AI to meet this challenge. The ratio rises to 93% in Singapore. However, just 11% of all respondents have already used artificial intelligence, with most coming from larger companies.

Only 12% of employees on average say they use artificial intelligence regularly. Interestingly, Singapore HR employees are more aware of the relevance of using AI, with only 3% remaining reluctant.

According to international employees, the three main qualities of a training course are: 1)On-the-job usefulness (52%), confirming employees' desire to bring training closer to their day-to-day work. 2)A face-to-face dimension (42%), particularly in France, where attachment to instructor-led sessions remains strong (56%). 3)An element of ‘fun’ (33%).

Finally, 75% of HR departments say they use training-related data – 19% to manage their offer and 41% to improve the learning experience. Only 15% use data to strengthen the individualisation of training paths, which remains rather low despite the demand for this approach.

“HR and Learning & Development departments are facing many similar challenges in all countries: hybrid working, changes in management culture, talent attraction and retention, ecological transition, digital transformation, the impact of artificial intelligence, and social responsibility,” says Benoit Felix, Chairman of the Cegos Group.

“While employees are genuinely concerned about the impact of these changes on their jobs, they are also highly motivated to learn and train. HR departments say they are ready to support skills development and adapt their training strategy to offer more individualised and on-the-job learning experiences.

“Training is not only a key driver for competitiveness. On an individual level, it is also a wonderful tool for professional integration and social inclusion, enabling each one to find his or her rightful place in the emerging world of work and society.”

Please complete the form below to download the survey results.