Technical skills, just like business skills, are evolving at a dizzying rate, with deep effects on the world of work. These skills — which help companies power AI advances, build cloud computing infrastructures, and create meaningful customer experiences from data — have a limited lifespan of just 2.5 years, meaning the need to stay up to date is more critical than ever. The pace of industry change combined with how quickly skills become outdated is straining companies as they attempt to remain competitive in an already challenging macroeconomic environment. In fact, an astonishing 87% of leaders report significant skills gaps within their organizations. 

To address these talent pressures, 98% of leaders are embracing a skills-based organizational model that emphasizes continuous and agile employee skills development and prioritizes relevant job skills, rather than academic qualifications alone. Through this approach, leaders can gain a holistic view of their employees’ skills, proficiencies, and gaps. They can then create ongoing learning opportunities to bridge skill gaps and empower employees to demonstrate mastery by earning industry-recognized certifications and verifiable badges. 

To help these companies complete the transition to a skills-based organizational model and keep pace with innovation, Udemy is introducing a new Integrated Skills Framework. The framework also provides a digestible way for leaders to understand the fundamentals of skills-based talent management: assessing their company’s internal skills landscape, identifying critical skills gaps, and helping employees demonstrate their earned skills.  It is this last part of the framework that Udemy is focused on with our latest product releases. Why? According to enterprise leaders, one of the most significant challenges they face is the inability to assess and validate their employees’ mastery of skills in line with industry norms and standards. This is where recognized skills validation in the form of certifications and badges comes in.

Why badging matters to professional learners and employers 

With leaders feeling the pressure to future-proof their organizations, traditional hiring practices that prioritize degrees and job titles aren’t enough to fill urgent skills gaps. According to McKinsey, a skills-based approach to talent management allows companies to widen the pool of qualified new candidates and deploy existing employees to projects aligned with their skills, helping to improve long-term retention. Central to skills-based internal talent management is clear validation of employee skills through certifications and badging.

Badges are digital proof of skills acquisition. Metadata embedded in the badge notes the date the badge was earned and the date the badge expires, with details on how the learner can renew their certification to maintain the badge. Badges don’t always come easy. Learners often must complete extensive training and pass rigorous exams demonstrating their knowledge to earn a certification badge. These badges give leaders confidence that their investment in learning is propelling business outcomes that will advance the organization and help maintain a competitive edge.

Skills verification on Udemy Business

Building skills is an urgent priority for Udemy Business customers. We are strengthening our commitment to skills development with a centralized certification preparation center where employees and managers can easily find content that relates to nearly 200 third-party certification exams. 

The certification preparation center features courses, practice exams, and coding exercises to help learners earn certifications. Subscribers also have access to a selection of curated learning paths and hands-on labs and assessments.

The certification preparation center contains a selection of curated learning paths tailored to the most in-demand technical certifications like AWS, Azure, and CompTIA, among others. These pathways feature hands-on labs and assessments so learners can practice their new skills, as well as trusted content from expert practitioners to prepare learners to pass industry exams. A training dashboard within the certification preparation center helps employees track their progress toward certification exams, determining readiness and providing the information they need to register for the exam with the official badge issuer and drive a successful outcome.

A curated learning path to help learners prepare for the AWS Certified Developer Associate exam.

In the coming months, learners will be able to import their earned badges into the Udemy platform, offering a simple way for employees to demonstrate their new skills acquisition to peers, managers, and their organization at large. To bring this offering to life in the Udemy Business platform, we have partnered with 1EdTech, the world’s open badge standards leader. These “open badges” are based on an open standard for digital badges that are portable. They are shareable across different platforms to prove a learner’s expertise through attached metadata. The badge authenticates that the learner has passed the necessary exams to be certified in the skill, and the learner maintains this verification as they move through their career.

A walkthrough of Udemy’s certification preparation center, part of the Integrated Skills Framework.

To further enhance the product portfolio that supports the Integrated Skills Framework approach, later this year, customers will also gain access to new features such as Insight Trending. This feature offers insights into organizational-level skills trends, providing L&D leaders and team managers with a clear view of the skills their employees currently possess, have recently earned, or still lack. Through Insight Trending, leaders will be able to act quickly to identify employees with the qualifications needed on specific projects and begin initiatives to close knowledge gaps on high-priority skills. This insights offering will enable companies to monitor and benchmark skills trends among industry peers and view course recommendations based on each company’s priority skill-building areas.

Use game-changing insights to close urgent skills gaps

Bridging skills gaps is a significant priority for executives; they know that failure to address these gaps will have devastating consequences for their organizations. A recent PwC survey found 52% of CEOs agreeing that skills shortages will impact profitability in their industry over the next 10 years. Leaders can safeguard their organization’s ability to innovate by upskilling employees in high-demand topics and empowering them to validate those skills by earning credentials. 

Udemy’s enhanced certification preparation center and badging capabilities are available to subscription customers initially, with the certification preparation center becoming accessible to all Udemy learners in the coming months. Discover more on how to bridge your company’s skills gaps with Udemy Business Pro