News story

Employers and workers at odds on skills development

D2LLearning News

A U.S. report has found that while employees cite ongoing skills development a priority for their performance, continuous upskilling is not yet the norm for most workers.

New research from D2L shows that while employers and employees equally recognize the critical need to offer and pursue skills development, continuous upskilling is not yet the norm for most employees.

  • 82% of learning and development leadership rank talent acquisition and retention as the most concerning human resources challenge facing their organizations today.
  • 83% of employees recognize that ongoing skills development is important to their overall job performance, signaling a strong interest in continuous upskilling opportunities.
  • 41% of employees would look to their current employer first for building job- or industry-specific skills, while only 17% would look to a community college and only 14% would seek out a university for the same training.
  • The primary motivators for employees pursuing additional education or training are increased earning potential (64%) and career advancement opportunities (44%).


  • Only half of employees (51%) have completed any formal education or training outside work in the past five years.
  • Time constraints (42%) and a lack of motivation (35%) are the top-rated barriers for employees to pursuing additional training or education at their jobs.
  • Although 42% of employees prefer online education or training to in-person-only offerings, only 29% of organizations report using education technology to deliver training.

The data collected in early 2024 shows that employers and employees across the United States recognize the value of investing in learning and development for higher retention, productivity, and adaptation. However, employee uptake of learning and development offerings remains a challenge and barriers like time, money and a lack of motivation can often impede their pursuit of new skills. 

"What this data shows us is that there is a clear opportunity to help make a positive change when it comes to upskilling that could dramatically shift the way employees learn and grow while strengthening organizations," says John Baker, Founder and CEO of D2L

"At D2L, we've seen firsthand how integrating technology can help enhance training delivery and help management address skills gaps and foster a culture of continuous improvement. Learning and development is no longer a nice to have but a necessity to help ensure the workforce is equipped to meet the evolving demands of the modern workplace."

Get the report: Invest, Upskill, Excel.