Third of UK workers feel their professional development held back by pandemic

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A third (36%) of full-time workers feel their professional development has regressed; 28% were due a promotion that has now been put on hold; and just under half (46%) have received no training from their employer during the pandemic, according to new research.

Soffos.ai has surveyed 2,000 UK adults to reveal the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on professional growth.

Key findings

• 36% of full-time workers feel their professional development has regressed due to COVID-19
o 28% were due a promotion in 2020 that has now been put on hold
• 46% have received no professional training from their employer during the pandemic
• Only 40% feel their organisation has a clear plan to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on their own career development

UK organisations have not done enough to support their employees’ professional development during the pandemic, new research by Soffos.ai has revealed.

The AI learning platform commissioned an independent survey among 2,000 UK adults. Of those in full-time employment, over a third (36%) feel their professional development has regressed as a result of COVID-19. This figure rises to 44% among those aged between 18 and 34.

A quarter (28%) of workers say they were due a promotion in 2020 that has been put on hold as a result of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 35% were due to take part in professional training programmes this year that have since been postponed or cancelled.

Almost half (46%) say their employer has failed to offer any professional training opportunities during the pandemic. When asked about their outlook for the future, only two in five (40%) are confident their organisation has a plan in place to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on their own career development.

Soffos.ai’s research showed many organisations have relied on new digital training tools. For example, 40% of full-time workers say they have been provided with online resources for training and development purposes. A similar number (41%) say their employer has delivered virtual staff training during the pandemic.

Nikolas Kairinos, CEO and founder of Soffos.ai, said: “COVID-19 has presented a myriad of challenges for businesses to contend with, so it’s not altogether surprising that professional development initiatives have fallen by the wayside. However, as they adapt to the ‘new normal’, it’s time they refocus on providing better training and support to employees.

“Just as if they were in the office, business leaders must provide team members with ample opportunities to develop their skills and understand how their industries are evolving. If they don’t, they risk creating a skills gap that will stunt both their employees’ and organisation’s growth.

“With remote working likely to become a long-term reality, it’s positive to see businesses already exploring how tech can support people’s professional development. I urge HR leaders to future-proof their training strategies by putting digital tools and online learning platforms at the heart of their learning and development efforts.”