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63% of Employees More Likely to Stay at Jobs with Better Learning Opportunities

The top soft skills (abilities focused on personal development or interpersonal relations) and hard skills (abilities directly related to one’s role) employees ...

Employers can build and retain top talent by offering educational and skill-building opportunities for employees, according to new research from Paychex, Inc., a provider of integrated human capital management software solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services.

The survey of more than 600 employees nationwide, conducted in partnership with Future Workplace, an Executive Networks member company, highlights workers’ desires to sharpen their skills and advance their careers with the support of their employers. In all, 63% of respondents said they would be more likely to stay at their organization if they were provided with better learning opportunities. 

The report further revealed that employers are providing the right learning and development opportunities for full-time, in-office employees, but have gaps to fill when it comes to remote, hybrid, and part-time workers.

“The American work experience is more varied than ever before — even between workers in the same roles,” said Alison Stevens, director of HR Services at Paychex. “We’re seeing skill gaps grow as employees increasingly get to choose working arrangements that fit their lifestyles. With employees yearning for more educational and career-building experiences, employers will need to pay attention to the differences between these groups to curate programs that keep employees engaged and stimulated regardless of their time in an office.”

Employees are more likely to stay with employers who offer robust educational and career-building opportunities

Most employees (64%) strongly agree/agree that they are satisfied with their organization’s opportunities for career advancement, though those who work fully remote are more likely to disagree (14%) than those who are fully on-site (8%) or hybrid (7%). Those who work full-time (69%) are more likely to be satisfied than those who work part-time (58%). 

Still, most employees (63%) say they would be more likely to stay at their organization if they were provided with better career advancement opportunities. Millennials are most likely to hold this view, with 74% saying they’d be more likely to stay at their organization with more opportunities to learn and grow, compared to 63% of Gen X, 62% of Gen Z, and 45% of Baby Boomers. Those who are more likely to agree with the above sentiment also vary somewhat by industry:

  • Construction (76%) 
  • Education and health services (60%)
  • Retail, trade, transportation, and utilities (59%)
  • Leisure and hospitality (42%)

Note: For purposes of this study, Gen Z is defined as those born between 1997 and 2015, Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 1996, Gen X is defined as those born between 1965 and 1980, and Boomers are defined as those born between 1946 and 1964.

Employees report specific soft and hard skills are holding them back in their careers

The top soft skills (abilities focused on personal development or interpersonal relations) and hard skills (abilities directly related to one’s role) employees believe are holding them back from career advancement are:

Soft SkillsHard Skills
Time management – 43%Data analytical skills – 39%
Digital literacy – 39%Computer skills – 39% 
Leadership skills – 37%Software skills – 37%

Soft skill differences by generation and between on-site, hybrid, and remote employees 

  • Fully on-site, hybrid and remote employees: Those whose work environment is fully on-site (46%) are more likely to say that digital literacy (the ability to use and understand technology) is holding them back than those whose work environment is fully remote (34%) or hybrid (26%). For fully remote employees (34%), communications skills were of bigger concern than for their on-site or hybrid counterparts (28% for both groups).
  • Generational differences: For Baby Boomers, digital literacy is the top soft skill of concern (63%) compared to Gen Z, whose main concern is decision-making (45%).

Hard skill differences by generation and between on-site, hybrid, and remote employees 

  • Fully on-site, hybrid and remote employees: Fully on-site employees (42%) are more likely to say that data analytical skills are holding them back, than hybrid (38%) and fully remote (35%) workers. Fully remote employees (30%) are more likely to say writing skills are holding them back than hybrid (25%) and fully on-site employees (22%).
  • Generational differences: Baby Boomers were 51% more likely to say that computer skills were holding them back, and software skills were of bigger concern for Baby Boomers (43%) and Gen X (42%) than the younger generations, with 36% of Gen-Z and 31% of Millennials. Additionally, the likelihood of marketing skills holding employees back increased as employees got younger: 45% of Gen Z, 39% of Millennials, 31% of Gen X, and 27% of Baby Boomers. 

“Unemployment is at a 20-year low, and employees are begging for educational offerings that can help them learn and advance,” said Jeanne Meister, founder of Future Workplace and executive vice president at Executive Networks. “Employers have taken note, but there is always more they can be doing to encourage retention. For those employers who are unsure what their employees want, the best place to start is to ask. In this competitive hiring market, if you don’t offer employees the resources they need to grow, someone else will.”

For more insights from this survey, please view the full research report.