AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) is calling on lower-paid staff who feel trapped in their jobs due to a lack of training access to consider a new role or even a new career, with research showing evidence of a ‘skills ceiling’ costing them £11,926 a year.
Analysis of ONS labour statistics has found that lower skilled office workers are not being offered training opportunities of those higher up their organisation. This is not only limiting their earnings, but additionally meaning they are not reaching their full potential, stifling productivity, and meaning they can only go so far in their career.
The skills ceiling concept is backed by evidence pointing to a structural shortcoming across many UK businesses:
- Employers’ investment in skills has dropped by 25 per cent in the past decade with just one in 10 workers currently studying for a nationally recognised qualification.
- The Social Mobility Commission’s 2019 Adult Skills Report found 30% of managers and higher-skilled professionals participated in training during Q4 2018, compared to just 18% in more junior roles
- Only three in five employees have received any training whatsoever in the past year, with one in seven workers saying they have never had training at their current place of work, according to AAT research
- The UK is spending just two thirds of the European average on adult training, and investment is in decline.
AAT is highlighting this skills ceiling and urging individuals to consider whether they are receiving training opportunities that benefit their career – especially in the areas of digital, financial and general business skills such as communication. If they feel this is unlikely to happen, employees should instead take the opportunity to consider whether they should try a new role or entirely new career path.
There are further reasons why employees should consider their own growth and personal development. Given nearly 1 in 7 people are now suffering mental health problems as a result of their work, breaking through the skills ceiling can increase their happiness and wellbeing through gaining extra job security. According to Linkedin research, employees who receive opportunities to learn at work are 47% less likely to be stressed, 39% more likely to feel productive and successful, 23% more ready to take on additional responsibilities and 21% more likely to feel confident and happy.
Rob Alder, AAT Head of Business Development, said:
“Many thousands of employees are suffering through years of chronic under-investment from their business. The majority of those receiving upskilling and training opportunities are those in highly skilled and highly paid positions, and this is career-limiting for everyone else.
“It is in the power of individuals to take control of their future to give themselves the best chance of gaining new skills that can enhance their working life. This could mean looking at other employers, both within your existing industry and perhaps in a totally different career, who will give you the opportunity to train and upskill, increasing your productivity and happiness.”