What Will Close the Skills Gap?
Think about the demographics in your company. Chances are most of the workers have been in the industry for well over 10 years. That’s not surprising considering that—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—the median age of employees in the printing industry is roughly 47 years old. Within the next couple years, a lot of our workforce will retire. That’s a scary thought since most of the printing industry doesn’t have a supply of younger, skilled workers to cover the impending deficit of talent. Even those companies lucky enough to employee some younger men and women notice a wide skills gap between their seasoned employees and their new hires.
We know this shifting workforce causes a huge issue for our industry. But Joe Polanco, president emeritus of one of the industry’s largest regional trade associations, has a solution: a recommitment to training. According to Joe, “Employers need to recommit their efforts (and money) to create on-the-job programs that can quickly develop the skill sets needed in today’s world of print and technology.”
We couldn’t agree more. And although finding the right training program for your company can be troublesome, we’ve noticed one strategy that seems to be gaining popularity and momentum over the past couple years—online learning opportunities.
The online learning (or e-learning as it’s sometimes called) market continues to grow at an exponential rate. According to Ambient Insight Research, the worldwide market for self-paced e-learning reached $47.9 billion in 2015 and revenues are likely to reach $50.4 billion by 2020. e-Learning is already the second most important training method within many organizations, and 77 percent of American companies already offer some kind of online corporate training. That’s not surprising because, according to WR Hambrecht’s Corporate eLearning Exploring a New Frontier, e-learning—and the videos associated with it—are proven to increase knowledge retention anywhere from 25 to 60 percent.
Our incoming labor force also strongly supports the use of e-learning training programs. About 6.7 million American college students already use online education options and will take this preference with them to the professional world. The reasoning? e-Learning can meet the incoming labor force where they already spend their time—on mobile devices. Last year, a study of almost 24,000 adults (age 18–34) found that 77 percent of the group owned a smartphone, and they spent 14.5 hours on it every week. Not to mention, the incoming millennial wants flexible options in their education. They prefer to find their own balance to their lives and want the option to study at any time of the day or night. An e-learning program can give them that option.
If you’re interested in finding an e-learning program that can fit the needs of your graphic communications company, check out our Integrated Learning Center. The virtual workshop portal features online courses developed and led by industry expert instructors. Courses are available 24/7 and can be taken at the pace of the student. Make an investment to close the skills gap in your company by participating in this industry-exclusive career development program today.