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Lifelong learning in professional industries

Majority of Australian businesses are struggling to fill skills gaps within their business

The value of lifelong learning in professional industries.

RMIT Online has today released the findings of its whitepaper, ‘LEARN. WORK. REPEAT. The value of lifelong learning in professional industries’. In collaboration with Deloitte Access Economics, findings from the study reaffirmed concerns over the growing digital skills gap in Australia’s workforce, revealing 88 percent of employers find it hard to get employees with the skills they need. 

The comprehensive analysis comes at a time when the future of work is at the forefront of public discussions as automation, and a rapid rate of change from digital transformation, brings to light a new array of knowledge and proficiencies that will need to be addressed by the nation’s labour force. 

The survey delved into employers’ perceptions of the value of lifelong learning for businesses and individuals, polling over 600 Australian businesses in professional industries. 

Key findings from the study revealed:

  • 49 per cent of businesses approach skill shortages within their organisation by hiring new employees. Just 45 per cent of businesses mediate the issue by delivering education and training internally. This is despite the fact that the cost of replacing a bad hiring decision within six months is two and a half times the person’s salary.
  • Over two-thirds (68 percent) of professional employers surveyed believed the benefits are shared roughly equally between the individual and the business overall
  • Most common business benefits from lifelong learning are identified as delivering better customer service and client service 
  • 15% of surveyed businesses in professional industries have no means of addressing skill shortages within their own organisation.

Helen Souness, CEO of RMIT Online says that the recommendations in the whitepaper highlight the urgent need to adapt with a rapidly evolving workforce culture and demand. 

“The evolution of work is charging full steam ahead and Australia’s global competitiveness is on the line,” she said.

“The findings in our whitepaper offer an optimistic glimpse into the future of work and industry 5.0, where lifelong learning can unlock the potential of emerging technologies, flying in the face of fears that “robots will take our jobs.

“This new environment is one where individuals thrive and succeed through self-expansion and constant reinvention enabled by lifelong learning. While this will require a shift in traditional ways of thinking, it represents an exciting opportunity for growth, both on an economic and personal level, that continues well beyond the years we spend in school or university.”

RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE said the University was outspoken about its mission to prepare students for life and work, not just to get a job.

“We know the future of work will demand new skills and a greater focus on resilience, adaptability, creativity and more,” he said.

“That’s why we’re continuously adapting, providing fit-for-purpose-education in emerging in-demand fields and retraining students at pace.

“Students can visit, return, or top-up on demand and that’s exactly what an evolving, disrupted workplace requires.”

The ‘LEARN. WORK. REPEAT. The value of lifelong learning in professional industries’ whitepaper is available online via the following link.

This article was originally published on 21 February 2020