News story

Skills shortage and sustainability driving change

Learning News

Trends report by Cornerstone highlights greater use of AI to predict skills needs and growth in learning content for DEIB, health and wellbeing and sustainability.


Cornerstone, a leader in talent experience solutions, today announced the Cornerstone People Research Lab’s 2023 Trends Report, drawing on the knowledge, insights and ideas of global industry professionals. The report highlights the Learning, Human Capital Management (HCM) and Content trends that talent and HR leaders should pay attention as they plan for the future of their workforce and workplace.

Strengthening economic headwinds, geo-political unrest, the cost-of-living crisis, the skills shortage and sustainability are upending traditional business operational models and forcing organisations to pivot fast. HR is one of the sectors in the crosshairs of this change.

Learning trends

According to PwC, 77% of adults would learn new skills now or completely retrain to improve their future employability. By reorienting organisations around skills, HR can better understand talent to dynamically meet needs.

Key findings from Cornerstone’s 2023 Trends report indicate:

  • Compliance and agility. Purpose-built training that aligns compliance and informal learning to where your industry is going will become an organisation’s key growth indicator
  • Sharing is engaging. Organisations will continue to harness the power of learning experience platforms (LXPs) to democratise teaching and learning.
  • Capability academies. Capability academies will be the future of the Learning and Development (L&D) function.

“From our findings, it’s clear that in 2023, organisations will continue to harness the power of learning experience platforms (LXPs) to democratise learning, which is even more important in these current times of economic volatility. LXPs bring together experiential learning, content and skill building, transforming learning into a connected engine of growth, agility and mobility. This drives a sense of inclusion and autonomy, fuelling satisfaction, retention and growth,” said Vincent Belliveau, Chief International Officer at Cornerstone.

Human Capital Management trends

Too often HCM data is locked away in hard-to-reach siloed systems. This fragmented view makes it difficult to manage HR with reliable, real-time data and diminishes the employee experience. This report has highlighted a few key areas organisations should consider:

  • Predicting tomorrow’s skills. Modern tech fabric and increasing use in AI will enable organisations to better predict the skills needed in the future.
  • Tighter Alignment. Improved alignment between HR strategy and everyday people needs will help close the skills gap and drive business growth. 
  • Better retention programmes. Emergence of innovative retention programmes to meet modern, challenging employee expectations.

“Organisations around the world face dramatically different circumstances depending on their locations, industries, cultures and many other variables. Resilience is critical to all of them, and leading organisations are looking to challenge assumptions, reset the way they work, enhance the employee experience and bridge skills gaps,” said Belliveau. 

Content trends

The learning content landscape is changing fast and from every direction, particularly in these key areas.

  • DEIB – Growth in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. In 2022, there was a 7.7x increase in demand for self-directed DEIB learning content compared to 2021, reflecting how companies need to prioritise DEIB to create inclusive workplaces.
  • Growth in health and wellbeing. Between 2021 and 2022, there was a 1.4x increase in demand for self-directed health and wellbeing learning content.
  • Growth in sustainability. A 100% increase in demand for corporate and workplace sustainability learning content between 2022 and 2021.

“Learner expectations are shifting. Modern employees want access to content on demand and in the flow of work, and they want personalised content for their preferred learning modality. Organisations need to motivate and engage employees with autonomy to control when, where and how they work. Moreover, it is critical for employers to foster clear, equitable pathways for career development,” concluded Belliveau.