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Employer attitudes toward providing training to their employees have shifted over the past 20 years. In the first decade of this century, employer spending on training decreased by 28 percent, but as skill needs began to change more rapidly, the need to provide training to help employees bridge their skills gaps became more and more apparent. In 2020, LinkedIn reported that “38 percent of executives with enterprises of 5,000 employees or more [believe] that closing skills gaps is an urgent business priority.”
And this trend shows no sign of stopping. The World Economic Forum's “Future Jobs 2020” report estimated that in less than five years, “85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge.” As a result, 40 percent of workers will need to learn new skills. That level of displacement creates a business imperative for employers to provide “upskilling” and “reskilling” opportunities to their current employees rather than expecting to satisfy all their skill needs via new hires.
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With as many as five generations in the workforce, age-inclusive learning and development approaches are a must. Traditionally the youngest and oldest workers have been the least likely to receive training from their employers, while workers toward the middle of the age range receive substantially more opportunities. But the pace of change and the need for skilled workers is pushing organizations to realize that all employees, regardless of age, need access to training.
Here are 6 ways to approach skills training with an age-inclusive lens.
1. Adopt a growth mindset.
To effectively foster an attitude that promotes employee growth requires intention and sponsorship from executives. Start by shifting internal opinions and assumptions away from the idea that people's abilities are fixed and finite and instead move toward the idea that everyone can grow and learn new skills.