Last month, Udemy commissioned a third-party survey on the skills gap and received surprising results from two population sets – the average worker and the Udemy student. The data showed that 61% of Americans believe there is a skills gap, but do not see themselves as part of the problem. In fact, 95% believe they are qualified or overqualified for the positions they hold. Udemy students, however, answered the questions quite differently which led to encouraging conclusions.
In the vein of Einstein’s “the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”, Udemy users are aware of what they don’t know. When asked, “Do you feel you already know everything you need to know to do your current job,” market data encompassing the average worker was at 53.9% while Udemy users were at 58.5%. The poll also presented two other major themes: They are taking their learning into their own hands more than the average student and Udemy students are more independent than the national average – seeking new opportunities and more likely to work for themselves.
When it came to paying for their own online courses to develop specific skills, 56.1% of Udemy students answered yes while only 13.2% of average workers said the same. Udemy students were also 5.4% more likely than the average worker to pursue new job opportunities leveraging their new skills. Udemy users are taking things into their own hands, directing their own learning online to bridge that gap to career success.
In an economic climate where competition is high and opportunities are scarce, everyone is looking to “get ahead” in business and education. Whether or not you believe there is a skills gap, the truth remains that 6.1% of the nation is unemployed while positions are available. Employers repeatedly gripe that finding the right talent remains the greatest challenge — 40 percent of U.S. employers report difficulty filling positions, according to the recent Talent Shortage Survey released by ManpowerGroup earlier this year. The type of skills most in demand? Technical. When asked, “Where is the biggest gap?”, 60.9% of Udemy students were overwhelmingly concerned with technical skills compared to the 32.8% national average. It is also interesting to note that when it came to honesty in applications and interviews, 24.2% of average workers said they overstated their skills versus 17.6% of Udemy students.
Udemy users are aware of their own skills gap and are taking action to upskill. With over 4 million students enrolled in over 10 million courses, the demand for constant skills improvement is there and students are benefiting from the career confidence and growth it brings. When it comes to careers, the poll results indicated that 20% of Udemy students believe they’ll stay in their job for over 5 years versus 48.3% of average workers. This may be because 64.4% of Udemy students want to work for themselves while only 50.4% of average workers are inclined to be self-starters.