Lack of quality training is causing skills gap in the UK

Inadequate training leads to skills gaps, reducing company profitability and wider economic growth, according to research Filtered conducted last year.

Out of the 2,000 workers surveyed in our survey UK workforce 2015: skills gaps and training habits, 60 per cent claimed they need key workplace skills to perform in their jobs successfully.

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However, only 25 per cent received training on the skills they need, while 41 per cent never received any form of training from their employers at all. In addition, 85 per cent admitted there is no compulsory training offered at work. 

The data suggested that the biggest factor here is workers not having or feeling they do not have enough time for training. Recent research conducted by Deloitte confirms the modern worker spends less than half an hour a week on learning and development.

This equates to 20 hours a year dedicated to training and making up only one per cent of the total time spent at work. It also resonates with what most of us knowledge workers feel —​ that there is not never enough time for anything, let alone optional training with its long-term (i.e. more-than-a-month-away) benefits.

It is therefore vital that businesses find a way to make the most of these precious 30 minutes a week.

What we do —​ algorithmic, data-driven granular training recommendations —​ address that. However, there are other means of achieving this goal too such as coaching from the right mentor, enhancing employee curiosity, etc. Whatever it is, make the 24 minutes count.

Personalisation decreases time-to-performance for learners, reducing the opportunity cost of training and maximising the impact of time spent learning. We conducted a study of 3,000 users and measured 26 per cent greater improvement in proficiency in learners on filtered courses compared to those studying one-size-fits-all syllabi.

Research we published early this year in partnership with benchmarking specialists Towards Maturity proved there’s high demand for customised training. 88 per cent of workers know what learning they need, 50 per cent want a personalised learning experience, and 25 per cent find it essential. Unfortunately there’s a gap to fill here.

The same study also showed that only 26 per cent of formal learning has a technology element to it (which is fundamental in adaptive/machine learning) and that 50 per cent of L&D leaders still look at standard courses as the only option. 

There is more to successful training than smart usage of technology. Part of the solution could be simpler: let’s listen to our workforce more. From the same report it emerged that 80 per cent of L&D leaders struggle to engage their staff, and only one in five admit they support career aspirations or personal job goals.

Equally worrying, 50 per cent of businesses feel held back by staff reluctance to engage with new technology (while the vast majority of workers showed great confidence with new devices and apps), and only 20 per cent of L&D leaders equip line managers with the tools to support their teams (certainly not enough, as one in thre workers say that training support from their managers is critical).

So what’s the right mix? How do we make the most of that one per cent? And increase it to two, three, five per cent?

There’s no magic one-size-fits-all recipe, silver bullet or rainbow unicorn, but smarter, sensible benchmarking, more collaboration between L&D managers and trainees and better use of technology all impact training outcomes and lead to more productive and happier workplaces.


About the author 

Marc Zao-Sanders is the co-founder and CEO of


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