Educational technology company Skillsoft has revealed a recent study that states approximately seven in ten workers across the Asia-Pacific region are concerned they’re unprepared for the jobs of the future.

Based on a comprehensive Vanson Bourne study of 2,500 employees across the APAC region about their readiness for the future of work, Skillsoft’s Mind the Gap report, the majority of employees feel that they are under-skilled, especially in terms of desired talent for IR4.0 technology; and they fear that their employers will not support them to meet future job requirements.

With the speed by which organisations within the APAC region are adopting new technology and techniques to cope with the advent of IR4.0, more and more employees are finding their skills inadequate in the face of this new era. As such, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of respondents reported they would need to learn a new skill in 2019 to remain confident in their role.

About 70 per cent of workers are also concerned about not receiving the learning, development, and necessary training they need from their employers to remain viable within their current positions. About 21 per cent stated that they are very concerned.

On average, surveyed employees reported that employer provided learning and training programmes for acquiring new skills for their role occurred three times in 2018. However, most employees feel that this was inadequate. Approximately 82 per cent believe that organisations can do more to help retrain and upskill their employees, as well as provide more opportunities to do so. Additionally, 14 per cent of those who received training last year rated this as excellent, where nothing could have been improved.

“We are quite shocked by the level of concern and unpreparedness among employees. Training, learning and development are critical to technology-enabled workplaces, yet many organisations are failing to deliver enough. This is not just a ‘future’ problem; it is happening now,” said Skillsoft’s Regional Director of APAC, Rosie Cairnes.

It is evident now more than ever that the digital transformation that was triggered by IR4.0 is causing a huge gap between employee training and readiness. Job roles are being changed due to this transformation and a lack of sufficient retraining and upskilling will leave current workers behind.

According to Skillsoft’s report, 80 per cent of employees across APAC would like their organisation to be more on trend with the training they provide in 2019. More than half (approximately 54 per cent) would prefer to receive more learning, development, and training opportunities online through eLearning courses. 42 per cent are interested in receiving their training through microlearning.

“Continuous, personalised, on-demand learning that allows individuals to curate their own learning journey in a way that is responsive to the needs of their role, at their own pace, must become standard across all businesses – large and small – in order to manage digital transformation effectively,” Ms. Cairnes said.

The report also showed that 90 per cent of responders believe that when new roles become available, employers often resort to hiring new talent from external sources, rather than focusing on retraining and upskilling employees internally. Most believe that this is due to the employers failure to put in place appropriate learning and development programmes to upskill current employees.

“Hiring is far more costly than training, and organisations are already grappling with a skills deficit in the jobs market. Failing to invest in employee development also has a huge bearing on job satisfaction, morale and retention,” Ms. Cairnes said. “Many organisations are missing out on the positive financial impact and increased performance of upskilling their employees to take on new roles, and are missing an opportunity to reduce attrition by providing a compelling experience for their employees.”