Athabasca University study finds 3 in 4 Canadian employees want to learn new skills just to keep up with their job’s changing needs, including post-pandemic interpersonal re-skilling

Athabasca, Alberta, March 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — New research by Athabasca University (AU) has found that more than three-quarters of Canadian employees (77 per cent) want to re-skill just to keep up with their job’s changing needs, with digital skills being a top priority among 70 per cent of respondents.

At the same time, however, another priority is competing for attention. Three-quarters of employees (74 per cent) also want to improve their interpersonal, or soft skills, such as communication style, conflict resolution capabilities, relatability, and team-building.

Dr. Alex Clark, president of Athabasca University, says the findings suggest Canadian workers are feeling pressure to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world but are also feeling the effects of pandemic isolation and feel a need for an interpersonal skills “reset.”

“The data from this study is telling us that Canadians almost can’t keep up with the dizzying pace of technological growth in the workplace, yet our need to improve skills that support better human connections has never been greater,” says Clark. “After experiencing such acute isolation due to COVID-19, it’s almost like we need some post-pandemic interpersonal re-skilling, hence our deep thirst to take more courses to improve our leadership-focused soft skills.”

The study, The Great Evolution: Mapping New Workplace Dynamics and Desires, was a cross-Canada survey administered to a representative sample of Canadians. It explored the country’s attitudes and expectations for the future of work in tomorrow’s post-pandemic era.

Canadian workers see growing value in micro-credentials

Some 63 per cent of Canadian workers say they want to increase their value at work through courses that don’t demand too much of their time. Specifically, 58 per cent have taken micro-credential courses before. These short, flexible courses develop knowledge, skills, and competencies in a focused area of learning. In fact, almost half (48 per cent) of Canadian employees say they have become more ambitious in their career aspirations since the pandemic.

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