U.S. employers are amid one of the largest, talent upheavals of this era — The Great Resignation — with approximately 20 million people leaving their jobs between May and September 2021, including a record 4.4 million people in September 2021 alone.
There are three leading issues most employers are facing in regard to recruiting skilled talent:
- Going through college is expensive; so to get their return on investment, graduates are becoming more aggressive than ever in job hunting.
- Skills gaps are becoming a hot topic in organizations. The World Economic Forum expects technological advancements to create 97 million new jobs by 2025. At the same time, 85 million jobs are expected to be displaced by technology, perpetuating a need for reskilling.
- Employers are having trouble retaining talent – especially those that are entry-level. In fact, recent data from Wiley’s “” report found that nearly one quarter of businesses reported losing between one half to 100% of their entry-level workforce in 24 months.
In 2022, employers will need to explore learning and development (L&D) solutions for reskilling, such as the hire-train-deploy (HTD) models, and a more strategic approach to facilitating L&D initiatives through employer-sponsored education to combat the repercussions of The Great Resignation. Employer-sponsored education is a great solution because it ensures the future growth of the company, hence increasing recruitment and retention.
Most organizations in the U.S. offer employee benefits that assist with paying for school. 88% of U.S. organizations offer education benefits, with 56% offering tuition reimbursement. Educational benefits differ between companies but overall helps employees afford a higher education. This past year, retail giants, like Macy’s and Walmart, added debt-free tuition to their employee benefits.
However, only 4.9% of eligible employees take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs. This can be due to a lack of communication from employers about the offering. With an increased focus on skills-based education for future growth, employers should be more vocal about promoting education benefits to close the skill gaps within organizations.
On another note, HTD represents an emerging method for employer-sponsored education. The company can work with an outside provider to train talent on the critical needs for that role. This hiring model is generally used to fill jobs in information technology (IT) – a growing industry currently facing the widest skills gaps.
The outside provider screens potential candidates for aptitude, technical ability and soft skills; selects and trains them for the company’s specific needs; deploys them to the company’s workforce; then helps retain the new talent by facilitating career growth and upskilling.
HTD solutions differ from traditional staffing agencies because they go beyond just finding potential candidates. They work with the organization to pinpoint their exact talent gaps and role qualifications. Not only will the HTD partners find the right people, but they’ll then train them in the exact skills employers need, providing ready-to-work talent from day one. This represents a significant benefit to companies looking to fill in-demand roles.
Whether your organization decides to go with education benefits, such as tuition reimbursement, or HTD solutions, upskilling employees should be a priority for the new year. These solutions can provide relief in these organizational trends:
Solving the Skills Gap
Universities can only do so much to prepare learners for their future careers. According to research by IBM, the shelf life for most technical skills is just two years and a half years. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently shifted the need for certain soft skills, creating the necessity for a largescale reskill and upskill in employees.
Industries, like ecommerce, supply chain management, health care and cybersecurity, have underwent rapid transformation and as a result, have an urgent need to upskill their talent pool. Employers must take on the responsibility to seek L&D initiatives that offer opportunities for job growth.
Promote DEI in the Workplace
Many recruiting practices fail to include diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) when selecting candidates. HTD models can help combat this issue because they consider candidates solely based on educational backgrounds and then train them in the skills the job requires. Companies can approach gaps in DEI through this approach.
Streamline Onboarding and Save on Training Expenses
With HTD models, employers are able to avoid the high expense of onboarding entry-level talent. According to a report by Bersin by Deloitte, it costs nearly $4,000 on average to fill one open position. Since HTD models focus on training employees in the specific skills necessary to perform on demand, employers are able to cut additional training expenses. This approach also reduces the time it takes for new hires to feel engaged and bring value to the organization.
Retaining the Workforce
Data from the Wiley’s report shows that a majority of respondents (77%) agree that tuition assistance programs have a positive impact on retention. As learners look for affordable degree pathways, many may be enticed by companies willing to help them reach their goal. However, once employers have attracted new talent, their focus should shift to retaining them.
Employees are not solely hunting for the best place to work, but also for the best place to learn. They want the potential for career growth with a degree of internal mobility. A recent LinkedIn report indicated that employees with the opportunity for internal mobility stay with the company almost two times longer. This is especially true among Gen-Z employees, who place the most emphasis on career growth.
Employer-sponsored education is a wave of the future. It is an efficient, L&D solution to filling skills gaps and ensuring future growth in an organization. Hopefully in the near future, employers and learning leaders can foster more career growth and reskilling opportunities through benefits like tuition assistance and other viable alternatives to traditional education.