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The challenges, priorities and opportunities for learning and development in 2023

At ILX we recognise the importance of understanding the pressures individuals and organisations are under when it comes to learning and development (L&D). Which is why we have surveyed 250 business, HR and L&D leaders working in large enterprise organisations for the last two years, to understand:

  • The key challenges and priorities facing organisations
  • What trends are impacting L&D decisions
  • Which skills are in-demand and how this differs across functions
  • The L&D delivery methods and skills that organisations are investing in
  • And more…

It is now widely known that there’s a shortage of skills, and the continual rapid advancements in technology mean that many jobs will evolve, with new roles being created and others maybe becoming redundant.

It is therefore not much of a surprise that our research found that organisations are in-demand of artificial intelligence (64%), automation (56%), big data & analytics (64%), and cloud (61%) skills in 2023, as they are instrumental in transforming industries and how organisations operate.

But also, high up the list of in-demand skills this year are management and leadership (67%), digital marketing (66%), sustainable development (64%), cyber (62%) and IT/enterprise service management (62%).

How does demand for skills differ across functions?

As well as understanding which skills are in demand in general, we also compared this between functions, and this is what we found:

  • The IT department: Cloud (36%), big data & analytics and AI (27%), and cyber, management and leadership and IT/enterprise service management (25%)
  • Operations: Management and leadership (29%), project and programme management (28%), and automation and cloud (24%)
  • Marketing and Sales: Management and leadership (31%), cloud (30%), and big data & analytics and digital marketing (29%)
  • Product Development: Automation (26%), AI and management and leadership (24%), and
  • R&D: Management and leadership (24%), big data & analytics (23%), and project and programme management (22%)
  • Finance: Big data & analytics (27%), management and leadership (26%), and automation (23%)

What else did we discover?

Top priorities for organisations in 2023 include:

  • Increasing efficiencies, improving productivity and/or reducing costs (44%)
  • Providing a better experience for employees, through organisational change management, skill development and L&D programmes (44%)
  • Retaining talent (42%)

Top challenges facing organisations in 2023 include:

  • Impacts of the cost-of-living crisis and other related issues, i.e. inflation, economic instability (76%)
  • Filling skills gaps and finding new talent (66%)
  • Keeping up with technology developments (64%)

How are organisations supporting employees on the cost-of-living crisis and other related issues, such as inflation and economic instability?

As well as feeling the impact of increasing costs and consumer spending decrease, organisations are also being asked upon by employees to support them in terms of higher wages and increasing benefits.

But, although it might seem a reasonable cost-saving measure, reducing L&D budgets will have a detrimental impact on organisations – which we also found, as 50% of organisations said their training programmes are not effective because of a lack of L&D budget.

Positively organisations seem to be responding in a similar manner, as the top two most in-demand L&D activities for businesses right now are upskilling (42%) and career development programmes (38%).

Also, our research found that, while 83% of organisations are feeling the pressure to support employees with the rise in the cost-of-living, they are supporting them by making coaching and mentoring support available (33%), moving to a hybrid way of working for a better

work/life balance (30%) and enhancing perks and benefits offering (29%).

Why will investing in L&D benefit organisations, as well as employees?

Upskilling, reskilling and cross-skill existing employees will equip them with knowledge and skills that will have a positive effect on business performance, as teams will have the capabilities to:

  • Adapt to change with agility and at speed
  • Automate and streamline working practices and processes
  • Co-create value for all internal and external stakeholders
  • Embed technologies to innovate and keep up with new trends
  • Innovate products and services to meet evolving customer needs
  • Optimise organisational effectiveness, increase efficiency and boost productivity

By investing in their employees’ training and development, organisations will not only retain valuable talent and fill skills gaps, it will also support them with finding and attracting new talent.

Want to learn more?

Download our research report called ‘L&D in 2023: Challenges, Priorities and Opportunities’ today.