Cornerstone Report

Almost Half of UK Workers Don't Believe Their Employers Meet Their Development Needs

London (UK), September 2023 - New research from Cornerstone reveals almost half of UK workers don't believe their employers are meeting their development needs. On top of employee concerns, the 2023 Talent Health Index also revealed that UK employer confidence in skills development is the lowest in Europe.

A new report from Cornerstone OnDemand, led by the Cornerstone People Research Lab, found that organisations in the UK are falling behind with their talent-health initiatives. The data reveals a persistent gap between what employees think they need to be able to grow and develop at work, and what today's talent programmes are actually providing them.

In the UK, 77% of employers feel confident in their organisation's ability to develop skills whilst just 56% of employees feel the same - creating a 21% confidence gap between employers and employees. Furthermore, whilst 89% of employers feel confident that they are equipped with the resources to develop skills, this sentiment is shared by just 64% of employees. This illustrates a stark contrast between how employers perceive the effectiveness of their talent programmes, and how employees feel.

However, there has been a slight improvement in UK employee confidence over the years. Whereas in 2020, just 49% of UK employees felt confident in their companies' ability to develop their skills, the figure stands at 56% in 2023.

In the UK, the 21% confidence gap between employer and employee perception compares to 29% globally, 36% in France and Germany, and 26% in Spain. So, at first glance, the UK appears to be faring better. However, upon closer investigation, the confidence of UK employers sits far lower than the global average (88%), as well as that of other European countries - with Germany at 90%, for instance.

What we can glean from this is that UK employer confidence in their own abilities to develop skills is the lowest in Europe. On the one hand, this could raise alarm bells - if employers lack confidence in skills development, how can employees have any confidence? However, the argument could also be made that this means UK employers are more aligned to the perspectives of their employees and therefore perhaps more able to listen to the concerns and demands of their workforces, to then drive positive change.

At the same time, the research also found that less than half (46%) of UK organisations see performance managements as a two-way collaborative process that supports both the business and the individual. As such, work clearly still needs to be done to change how employers view workforce development.

The research also reveals that organisations in the UK are failing to fully exploit the technology innovations available to them to strengthen their talent strategies. For instance, only 33% of UK organisations say they are leveraging learner-centric tools to streamline talent processes and information. Additionally, more than 60% of UK organisations stated they are not yet leveraging AI technology to optimise their talent.

With UK organisations failing to tap into the full potential of technology and tools, and with an employee-employer confidence gap persisting, it is perhaps no surprise that the average Talent Health Index score placed UK employers in the administrative maturity level. This is the second level of four and demonstrates a mastery of the basics and very early exploration of new innovation. However, at this level, talent programmes are behind in automation and have yet to build a robust learning strategy.

"Skills are truly the currency of today. Organisations that successfully navigate the constant flux of the business landscape will be those that invest in workforce innovations and talent development," said Mark Debono, Vice President at Cornerstone OnDemand. "To truly modernise talent programmes, talent and business leaders need to take a granular approach to their strategies - they must leave no stone unturned and extend innovation and improvement to each business process of the talent experience journey. This end-to-end, holistic approach to modernising talent programmes will have significant business impact for the companies that are willing to put in the work."

According to Debono, leaders should examine how their organisation performs in the following areas to gain an in-depth understanding of the health of their programme:

  • culture and technology
  • skills strategy
  • learning and development
  • content strategy
  • performance management
  • talent mobility
  • talent reporting, data, and analytics

Coinciding with the release of the Talent Health Index, Cornerstone has developed a free, online self-assessment, offering organisations an in-depth evaluation of their talent programme's maturity level, along with related resources for continued development.