Research Digested: Two-Thirds of Businesses say Skills Training is Crucial to Post-COVID Business Recovery

Many People Holding Skills as a Word


A snapshot of useful research for L&D and workplace professionals

Why read this report?

The report talks about the link between skills training and business recovery for organisations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It draws on Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures from April to June 2020 and April to June 2019, comparing the average weekly hours worked by employees across industry sectors, and highlighting them as hours that could have been invested in training. In particular, the report says employees could have been learning all important digital skills.

About the research?

The report references several source materials. Firstly, there is research into what technical and specialist skills are most in demand, as conducted by Hays. Research carried out by The Open University and the ONS also features in the report.

Standout stats

The Hays Learning piece references research by The Open University which found that two-thirds of organisations say skills training is critical to enabling business recovery post-Covid. The OU research also found that 68% of businesses that are confident about their recovery have invested in skills training during lockdown. This compares to 53% of organisations who are not confident about their recovery and have not invested in skills training during lockdown.

Figures from the ONS show that the total number of hours worked in the UK in June were 8.9% lower than in June 2019, due to factors such as furloughed employees and reduced hours. This 8.9% figure could have been converted into 94.2 million training hours, says Hays Learning.

When comparing April to June 2020 with April to June 2019, the average weekly hours were down by 6.3 hours across most industries.

Final word

There has been a lot of talk about the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown prompting a surge in demand for digital skills. However, Hays research suggests that managerial and leadership skills are the top priority for 35% of respondents, with finance reporting the highest demand for these skills (41%), followed by HR (40%), office support (39%) and supply chain and logistics (39%).

That’s not to say that technical skills are not in demand – 20% of UK employers said IT infrastructure skills are their most needed skill. Furthermore, 15% of employers require data and analytics skills, 12% software development skills and 11% marketing skills.

Report reading time: 5 minutes

Media: Article