When it comes to retraining, there are two sides to the equation.
On one side, employers need to see the investment in upskilling. In the past, many flirted with this idea but preferred the straightforward route of employing skilled employees, only choosing to retrain when there were no such talents or were too expensive.
However, the pandemic helped many companies to see the value of retraining as a means of business agility and resilience. This resulted in more companies exploring retraining and upskilling programs.
But a new study, “Decoding Global Career Shifts,” also showed that employees — the other side of the equation — are becoming more willing to retrain. The resistance to learning is now giving way as many realize that their employability depends on their ability to acquire new skills.
The study is conducted in partnership with SEEK Asia (the parent company of JobStreet), Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and The Network. It is the third release in a series of publications focusing on the pandemic's impact on worker preferences and expectations. A total of 66,624 respondents in Asia — out of 209,000 participants across 190 countries — took part in the study.
The study showed that 72% of Asian workers are now willing to retrain for new jobs. Another 25% said that they are ready to retrain should the need arise.
Employees are also spending more time shoring up their knowledge and skills. The study noted that 34.24% of employees spent significant time (few months per year or more) learning while 29.37% said they have spent a few weeks a year doing so. On-the-job training (73.92%), self-study (56.98%), and online educational institutions (46.29%) are the top three most popular resources they used to train and develop new skills.
Employees are also beginning to see their future in new roles.
Of the 72% who are willing to retrain in any case, most of them work in the Manual Work & Manufacturing (75.87%); Digitalization & Automation (75.72%); and Customer Service (75.68%) industries. Those aged between 21 and 50 are the keenest to retrain, and IT & Technology (26.58%), Digitalization & Automation (25.10%), and Administration & Secretarial (19.25%) roles appeal most to them.
One apparent reason that is pushing Asian employees to seek retraining is automation.
The pandemic highlighted the risks of human-dependent processes, with companies looking to automate and explore AI-led options. As a result, over 49% of employees in Asia have become more concerned about automation during the pandemic.
According to the survey, four of the top five countries where workers are concerned about being replaced by technology are Asian countries. They include Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Employees in the Financial Institutions (54.89%) as well as Insurance (54.50%), Telecommunications (53.96%), Technology (53.58%), Public (50.47%), and Industrial Goods (50.12%) sectors are most concerned about the threat of automation. Those holding job roles such as law, sales, engineering & technical, and health and medicine are less concerned.
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