Going Deep: Fresh Approaches to Fighting the Skills Gap

Going Deep: Fresh Approaches to Fighting the Skills Gap

If you’re running a global business today, you’re likely facing new challenges. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 20th Global CEO Survey, business leaders are weighing the challenges of:

  • Increasingly rapid tech advancement
  • An uncertain business environment
  • Nontraditional market players on a local and global scale

All of those changes put pressure on businesses to find an elusive competitive edge.

That edge can be your employees — but only if you continuously invest in them. Recent graduates’ skills can already be outdated by the time they hit the workforce, and your veteran employees can quickly fall behind as your industry advances. The only way to be prepared is to provide flexible and innovative access to deep transformative learning.

We analyzed data from our 28 million learners to get deeper insights into the most in-demand skill sets employers need, and how three leading companies are meeting the challenge through creative L&D strategies.

What Skills Employers Need

In order for organizations to shift and flex to meet new challenges, employees need to bring new skills to their work. Three important skill buckets are:

  • Keeping pace with technology: Full-stack web development, data science, machine learning, and cybersecurity are some high-demand skills.
  • Responding to an uncertain business environment: Leadership, understanding changing financial markets, and building career success are seen as crucial skills to address this challenge.
  • Meeting the competition on all fronts: The next generation of leaders need creativity and agility to adapt in a constantly changing business landscape.

Drilling down into specific skill sets, we find that computer science is the No. 1 subject area for companies across all industries.

Most Popular Coursera Courses Among Enterprise Learners

  • Computer science: 23 percent
  • Business: 19 percent
  • Data science: 18 percent
  • Social sciences: 9 percent
  • Arts and humanities: 8 percent
  • Physical science and engineering: 7 percent
  • Life science: 6 percent
  • Math and logic: 4 percent

Behind the Data: What Learners are Learning

Companies know they need these skills, but employers are struggling to find people with the right skills and develop these skills in current employees. According to the PwC survey, 88 percent of CEOs say leadership is a very important skill for their workforces, but 35 percent say it’s very difficult to recruit for leadership skills. Experts at Oliver Wyman say that L&D teams will need to shift their models to emphasize agility and rapid learning.

According to our data, learners are responding by specializing in data science, deep learning, Python for Everybody and other high-demand skills. Across North America, the top 5 courses are:

  • Learning How to Learn
  • Neural Networks & Deep Learning
  • Programming for Everybody
  • Intro to Mathematical Thinking
  • Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Technologies.

The top Coursera courses taken by enterprise learnings across different industries are:

  • Telecommunications: Intro to Marketing
  • Financial Services: Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency
  • Insurance: Learning How to Learn
  • Health Care: Learning How to Learn
  • Technology: Algorithms, Part 1

It’s clear employees are feeling the pressure of the skills gap as much as employers do. By focusing on computer science, deep learning, data analysis and other forward-looking skills, they can gain an edge in an increasingly competitive workplace.

Global L&D leaders are constantly searching for ways to help their teams re-skill and up-skill to meet those challenges. Continuing education will be key in order to integrate functions across the organization, work in nimble, mission-focused teams, and shift the culture to focus on rapid learning.

Companies will increasingly rise or fall based on their ability to attract and retain a workforce that has top-notch and up-to-the-minute skills. Now is the time to invest in that workforce, whether you’re up-skilling workers, training savvier teams, or grooming the next generation of leaders.

To learn more, get the eBook.

Coursera for Business

Coursera provides curated online courses from top universities that map precisely to the skills your organization needs. With access to the best content, your workforce can master new skills efficiently – and enjoy the process.

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