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Data Sciences, Business and Soft Skills Are Top Needs for Workforce Reskilling   

A new survey from learning platform edX has identified two major skill areas where respondents reported feeling a lack of proficiency in their jobs. Thirty-nine percent of people surveyed said they feel "less than proficient" in data skills (in particular, analytics and computer science), while 37 percent felt lacking in business and soft skills, including project management and leadership. The survey polled 1,000 consumers aged 18 and over, 917 of whom were currently or previously employed.

"A lack of skills in these two major areas indicates that advances in technology are impacting the workplace and creating the need for new types of skills, which often go beyond a traditional college education," said Adam Medros, president and COO of edX, in a blog post. But when survey respondents were asked who should be responsible for making sure workers have the opportunity to reskill for the jobs of the future, their responses varied. Forty-one percent said reskilling is the individual's responsibility; 33 percent place responsibility with the employer; 16 percent pointed to higher education; and 9 percent said it's up to the government.  

Notably, while more than a third of respondents said they have experienced a lack of proficiency in at least one new skill area in a current or past job, 40 percent don't feel comfortable asking their employer for help with reskilling.  

"The skills gap is a challenge that goes far beyond job creation and training and development — it touches on a broader social responsibility that companies have to their employees and the communities in which they operate," said Medros, who pointed to edX's online programs as one avenue for individuals to pursue new skills. "Receiving a certificate after completing an online program in a specific field can be just as valuable as pursuing an on-campus degree," he noted. "Survey respondents reported the same perception of competence in a potential job candidate whether they had a full degree or microcredential on their résumé."

For more information, visit the edX blog.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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