Wiley Education Services Highlights the Current Skills Gap and Need for Career-Connected Education

Last updated on: June 8, 2021

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At a webinar last week, panelists discussed Wiley’s 2021 skills gap report and the importance of partnerships in aligning education with employer needs

Hoboken, NJ – June 2, 2021 – Wiley Education Services, part of John Wiley and Sons Inc., hosted a webinar on May 26 in partnership with WCET, entitled “The State of the Skills Gap: Connecting Education with Career Outcomes.” Moderated by WCET, the webinar featured panelists from Wiley Education Services, George Mason University and the Missouri Office for Workforce Development.

The webinar kicked off with a robust analysis of Wiley’s recent research report, “Reimagining the Workforce 2021: Closing the Skills Gap Through Education,” followed by a lively discussion focused on the critical need for career-connected education, how the business community values traditional degrees and certifications, and the vital role of partnerships in closing the gap. The report, which utilizes survey data from 600 human resources and learning development professionals across business sectors, includes the following key findings:

— More than half (55%) of the respondents believe a skills gap exists at their organization.

— Upskilling/reskilling employees was selected as the top way to close the skills gap (57%).

— A vast majority (81%) of employers felt that having tuition assistance and support for programs is a strong upskilling/reskilling tool. However, less than half (48%) reported having tuition assistance programs at their company.

— More traditional forms of education were found to be the most effective strategies for upskilling/reskilling employees; and tuition reimbursement or scholarships, university-sponsored discounts, and industry certifications ranked as the top three most effective methods.                                                                                                             

— When evaluating job candidates, 72% view degrees from colleges and universities as very to extremely important. At a similar rate, 68% value trade skills certificates and work experience.

— The most highly sought-after majors for new hires are technology (55%) and business (46%).

— The most challenging “hard skills” to fill include computer technology (44%), and data analysis (35%).

— The most difficult “soft skills” to fill included critical thinking (36%), communication (36%), and creativity (34%). 

According to Dr. Deb Volzer, Senior Director of State and Workforce Development for Wiley Education Services, there needs to be a much better dialogue between what employers say they need and what can be delivered in terms of just-in-time learning: “Companies are continually bringing in new technologies and new processes, and as a result, we have to continue to educate and advance learning. Specifically, we need to understand the immediate needs of our communities and across the state to identify what are the skills employers are seeking, so we can help individuals gain those skills in a more timely manner.”

“We are in a world of lifelong learning,” said Dr. Marc Austin, the Executive Director of Professional Education and Academic Ventures, George Mason University. “A university or community college should never be seen as a place you come to just once, for a couple years. You really should come back and continually retool, upskill and return to use the resources that these institutions provide to help you continue in your career.”

“State agencies work at the nexus of education and employment,” explained Dr. Mardy Leathers, Director of the Missouri Office of Workforce Development. “We focus on how we can help our citizens connect to sustainable employment. Certainly, education and training have to be part of that equation as does understanding and aligning the needs of our employers to the current skill sets our workforce has, or aspires to have.”

Wiley Education Services is a leading, global provider of technology-enabled education solutions that supports more than 70 universities and over 800-degree programs, as well as corporations. Its continuous growth—coupled with its recent acquisition of training and job placement company mthree and launch of tuition benefits solution Wiley Beyond—demonstrates the company’s strategy to deliver innovative, tech-enabled products and services that unlock human potential by enabling the success of the world’s learners and professionals.

More information about the webinar, including a video recording of the event is available here.

About Wiley Education Services

Wiley Education Services is a leading, global provider of technology-enabled education solutions to meet the evolving needs of universities, corporations, and ultimately, learners. We partner with more than 70 institutions across the U.S., Europe and Australia, and support over 800-degree programs. Our best-in-class services and market insights are driven by our deep commitment and expertise—proven to elevate enrollment, retention and completion rates. For more information, visit edservices.wiley.com.

About Wiley

Wiley drives the world forward with research and education. Through publishing, platforms and services, we help students, researchers, universities, and corporations to achieve their goals in an ever-changing world. For more than 200 years, we have delivered consistent performance to all of our stakeholders. The Company’s website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.

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