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The top five challenges facing businesses in 2024

This year businesses find themselves navigating a complex web of challenges as they battle to keep up with the pace of technological change and remain afloat through the cost-of-living crisis, all without losing valuable talent to their competition.

So, what are the top five challenges facing businesses this year? Our ‘Developing an adaptable and productive workforce for the future: The trends and challenges facing senior leadership teams in 2024’ report has the answers.

What are the top five challenges facing businesses in 2024?

1. The cost-of-living crisis

The ‘cost-of-living crisis and other related issues’ tops this list for the second year running, with 77% of organisations agreeing that it is a key challenge. Businesses continue to face the impacts of increasing operating costs, supply chain disruptions, decreased consumer spending and economic uncertainty.

Squeezing budgets can often make L&D more difficult to justify to senior stakeholders and leadership teams, but investing in L&D to upskill, reskill and cross-skill existing employees can empower teams to be more effective and productive. Which is why we’re pleased to see that 28% of organisations are helping employees navigate the cost-of-living crisis by offering training and development. Which helps them accelerate their careers and leads to quicker promotions.

2. Finding new talent

The war for talent has made it significantly more difficult for businesses to attract skilled candidates. And while the start of 2023 did see an uptick in candidate availability, according to this article in HR Magazine, organisations are still struggling to attract the specialised talent they really need. As a result, closing skills gaps through recruiting and hiring new talent is proving a struggle, so many companies are having to seek alternative ways to build the skills they need, such as upskilling and reskilling.

3. Keeping up with technological developments

76% of businesses state that keeping up with technological developments is a challenge. Technology has advanced considerably in the past year alone, which has created skills gaps that need to be filled much faster. In 2024, a greater focus is being placed on developing these abilities, which may be why the highest demand for L&D is coming from the IT department.

AI is a particular priority for many, in fact it’s the most in-demand skill this year for 77% of organisations. When used effectively, AI can yield significant benefits for businesses by enabling better decision making, increasing efficiencies, improving quality, boosting productivity, personalising experiences, and more.

Discover how AI is set to impact the project management industry in one of our recent blogs.

4. Filling skills gaps

As technologies continue to advance, employees lack the skills they need to use them and take on new roles within the business. As a result of the climate change crisis, business priorities have also shifted towards sustainability and sustainable development. The demand for employees with these technological and eco-conscious skills is currently outpacing the growth in number of individuals that actually possess them. This leaves organisations with gaping skills gaps that they struggle to fill.

5. Retaining talent and valuable internal knowledge

Many organisations are beginning to recognise that providing in-house employees with high-quality learning and development is a valuable tool to build the skills they need. In most cases, organisations are finding that in-house upskilling is a much more efficient and cost-effective way of building specialised skills than recruitment.

Plus, loyal employees have an understanding of the business and its needs that new employees need time to develop, so a lot of resources and effort can be saved by retaining talent rather than hiring new employees.

Learn more about the value of upskilling in one of our blogs.

How can businesses face these challenges?

Encouraging a culture of continuous learning will not only help to bridge skills gaps but will also cultivate a workforce that is agile and equipped to navigate these challenges. By investing in learning and development organisations can build an internal talent pool that is open to growth and development, limiting the need to find new talent and making the most of available resources.

View our full list of training courses to learn more about how ILX Group could help your organisation face these challenges. Or discover more insights from our 2024 research report.