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The Upskill Ultimatum reveals the results of a survey of 1,000 knowledge workers and 1,000 HR professionals

Quick read

➨ Almost 50% of US and UK employees are prepared to move employers if they do not receive the training they need
➨ But HR departments want to wait up to seven years to revamp old methods
➨ Read Immerse’s report, The Upskill Ultimatum, in full

The story

Almost 50% of US and UK employees are prepared to move employers if they do not receive the training they need, yet HR departments want to wait up to seven years to revamp old methods, according to new research from Immerse, the enterprise virtual reality (VR) training company.

Immerse’s report, The Upskill Ultimatum, reveals that a majority of employers plan to wait until 2028 and the arrival of technology-savvy ‘Gen Z’ workers to deploy immersive training technologies such as VR across their organisation.

As Immerse is right to point out, this is despite studies (see two examples here and here) showing the effectiveness of these technologies in boosting knowledge acquisition and retention, and with two-thirds of HR professionals believing that employers that fail to use them will struggle to attract and retain top talent.

These results are worrying because this research is so comprehensive. It is based on a survey of 1,000 knowledge workers and the same number of HR professionals based in the UK and US, from large, established corporations and mid-market businesses in the transport, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, power and utilities, and professional services sectors.

Watch a video of the top results below.

Immerse says that the research shows massive fractures in the current training landscape, with nearly half of HR professionals (49%) believing that today’s training deployment is inadequate for a hybrid working world.

Also, businesses are feeling the effects of this “learning drought”, with half of HR professionals reporting an emerging skills gap in their organisation, resulting in operational company risk.

All of this points to a need to utilise VR and other notable immersive technologies to freshen up and improve training programmes, as some are.

The Immerse Platform, the company’s solution for creating, scaling and measuring VR training, has attracted employers such as DHL, Nestlé and bp, with licence revenues growing by 300% last year.

And, according to the research, most companies have begun to engage with immersive technology at some level, but only a minority (10%) are currently using it company-wide.

High-performing companies are leading the way when it comes to embedding cutting-edge training platforms within their business.

Almost two in five (38%) high-performing businesses are using at least one form of immersive technology company-wide, compared to under a quarter (23%) of low performers.

If low performers are to close this training innovation gap, HR teams need to act fast and drive this agenda to the board, according to Immerse.

Tom Symonds, CEO at Immerse, comments: “The world of work has shifted beyond all recognition, and employees are looking to their employer to help them adapt. But the pace of change in training is not matching the pace of technological innovation.”

“The pandemic has forced businesses into damage-limitation mode, and leaders are failing to take the long view when it comes to talent.”

The already acute risk of widespread talent loss

The Upskill Ultimatum interprets this need for employers to help their employees adapt as upskilling and reskilling, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the world of work.

The research finds that leaders failing to meet these expectations face the already acute risk of widespread talent loss, with as many as 48% of employees saying they would move employers if they were not receiving the level of training they need.

To drive home this point, the research reveals that 25% of employees have not learned anything new through workplace training in the last year, and 7% have not learned anything new in the last two years.

Symonds continues: “Our research reveals the urgent need for a training overhaul to prepare companies for a future that remains decidedly uncertain. Companies embracing immersive training technologies will be at an advantage in the post-pandemic world of work, bridging skills gaps and supercharging employee engagement, productivity and retention.”

Immerse goes on to reveal that almost three out of five employees (58%) say that immersive technologies, such as VR, would make training exciting for the first time ever.

Immersive training platforms also have the potential to solve critical business challenges, according to the research.

Some 64% of HR professionals believe that on-demand immersive training could be the key to solving the productivity crisis in the workplace, and 70% say that immersive technology would provide safe training in high-risk scenarios.

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