Almost 70% of professionals see learning as the key to landing better opportunities: Study

2020 saw the evolution of a changing business landscape. This in turn resulted in changes to job requirements which prompted both working professionals and job seekers to invest in new skills, and to ensure that they prepare not only for today but for an ever-changing future. In view of this, Simplilearn recently conducted a survey to understand how 2020 has affected work environments and what are aspirants doing to prepare for the various eventualities that they foresee in 2021. More than 5,000 Simplilearn learners, comprising both individual and corporate learners, participated in the survey. 19.4% of survey respondents were freshers, 51.3% mid-level, and 29.2% senior-level professionals. A majority of the respondents were from the IT sector, followed by manufacturing, consulting and finance.

The Simplilearn annual report, ‘IT Skills Training Trends: 2020 and 2021’ focuses on the impact of the past year, expectations in the year 2021, and how job aspirants are adapting to the new ecosystem.

How 2020 impacted career plans:

  • 14% respondents lost their jobs 
  • 41% of mid-career professionals felt stagnant in their careers
  • In large organizations, 25% of professionals felt stuck
  • Professionals in Consulting, Finance, and Healthcare/Pharma were more likely than others to feel stuck
  • Professionals in Manufacturing and Finance were more likely to report job losses

Outlook 2021: Upskilling brings hope to many professionals

Professionals are taking a proactive approach to career success in 2021:

  • 35% of respondents saw the pandemic as an opportunity to learn new skills; this number rose to 49.5% of employees in small and medium enterprises 
  • 67.5% of professionals see learning as the key to landing better opportunities and plan to start learning programs in 2021
  • 4% of respondents feel keeping their jobs depends on learning new skills
  • 66% of professionals are either enrolled in training programs or plan to start in 2021

What professionals expect from upskilling towards their careers in 2021

Technology professionals will be in demand in 2021, as much because of the pandemic as in spite of it.

  • 54.3% of professionals expect upskilling to provide better opportunities in 2021 or lead to pay raises and promotions in their current jobs
  • 20% expect upskilling to future-proof their careers
  • 25.8% expect upskilling to unlock a new career path that lets them follow their passion

Speaking on the growing number of enrollments on the platform, Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO, Simplilearn said, “The work-from-home scenario which is a by-product of the effects of the pandemic and the new normal, has driven a clear trend to online learning. With individuals getting a little extra time for self-development, we saw a 60% jump in enrollments in the early days of lockdown itself. In fact, usage on the platform has doubled compared to pre-pandemic times. Another factor which contributed to this was career uncertainty and job losses which made it clear to many professionals that digital skills is key to career stability and growth.”

He further added, “Organizations also learned that online learning was not just part of employee skilling but played an important role in employee engagement in an ever growing virtual ecosystem. Over the last 6 months, Simplilearn has on boarded over 50,000 corporate learners across 12 countries, led by India, the USA, Thailand, and Oman. Additionally, several universities also partnered with us to offer their students skilling programs as an add-on to their academic courses. With universities globally shifting to the online model, online learning programs are an effective solution to support learning continuity.”  

Most effective way to start learning a new skill

With its advantages of learning anytime from anywhere, along with diverse learning preferences, online learning is one of the most preferred modes of upskilling for professionals. 

  • 71% believe that the best way to start learning a skill today is to either via paid online programs or via self-learning with free online courses
  • 72.8% percent of professionals are either exploring what they want to study in 2021 or have a definite plan to enroll in an online certification program
  • Programs in digital operations were most subscribed to, followed by Technology, and Data & AI.
  • Data Science and AI/ML programs were popular with mid-career (31-40 year old) learners, while Digital Business was popular with both young (under 25) and senior-level (over 50) learners.
  • Digital Operations programs were popular with early-career (30 year old and younger) learners, and Technology with early-career (30 year old and younger) learners.
  • Most learners used the mobile app for learning programs v/s a desktop

Value-add from online learning programs:

  • A majority of the respondents prefer the Bootcamp learning model of applied learning aligned with industry requirements.
  • 75% of professionals prefer programs that focused on applied learning, along with projects and practice labs coupled with industry partnerships and accreditations 

Online learning is increasingly in demand from both students and professionals, and employers and universities fully support this trend. Digital economy skills are vital to individuals as the foundation of a healthy career, and they are essential to employers as a critical resource for digital transformation and long-run competitiveness. Ultimately, upskilling and reskilling are the keys to a better career in 2021 and in years to come.

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