To avoid talent shortages, emphasize skill development, Udemy says

As 2024 approaches, employers need to emphasize skills investment and train up their workers to anticipate the growth of generative artificial intelligence, according to Udemy’s 2024 Global Learning & Skills Trends Report, released Nov. 1.

Without investment, employers may be short 85 million skilled workers by 2030, according to a separate Korn Ferry report.

Data shows employers are investing more in learning and development to combat that gap, Udemy said, and in turn, employers are opting to focus on skills over degrees when it comes to filling jobs.

Much of that recent investment seems to be in AI-related training, according to the report; Udemy saw a 60% increase in AI-related training on its platform over the past year, with course enrollments regarding ChatGPT spiking over 4,000% in Q1 alone. But AI is not the only skill set seeing large growth.

“As organizations continue to embrace the promise of generative AI and other fast-evolving innovations, there is also intense disruption — disruption in employee roles, in how work gets done and in the nature of the work itself,” Melissa Daimler, chief learning officer at Udemy, said in a statement. “Change leadership is essential. Developing skills like resilience and leading through change are even more important to reinforce as we navigate and embrace these disruptions.”

Notably, Udemy saw large increases in access to leadership development topics, including communication, management fundamentals, emotional intelligence and digital transformation. Coaching saw a 177% year-over-year jump among managers and leadership teams, as well.

Other reports have shown that while L&D is seeing more influence and C-suite access, actual efforts may be moving too slowly to catch up to workforce needs. LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report said that skill sets for jobs have changed 25% since 2015, and that number is expected to double by 2027.

Upskilling may also be key to maintaining productivity during turbulent economic times. About 42% of employers surveyed by said that a major skills gap will hit their company within the next two years, according to a July report. In answer, employers said they are investing in L&D, especially in the wake of generative AI’s explosive growth.

Culture around skill-based hiring is taking time to catch up, however. While 29% of paid job posts on LinkedIn omitted professional degree requirements in 2022, employers are still struggling to translate that shift into actual hires, LinkedIn experts have said.