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ATD Blog

Bridging Current and Future Skills Gaps

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

An internet search of “How to improve communication skills in the workplace?” resulted in more than 335 million hits. Why do so many results exist? Because communication and interpersonal skills don’t come easily to everyone. In the latest edition of the ATD Bridging the Skills Gap report, 85 percent of organizations said they were experiencing a skills gap in this area. And this wasn’t the most common skills gap that organizations noted. 87 percent of organizations were experiencing skills gaps in leadership and executive-level skills, and 86 percent were experiencing gaps in managerial and supervisor skills.

TD professionals aren’t the only ones noticing these gaps. Over half of working Americans said their manager, supervisor, or team leader needed additional training.

So, what are organizations doing to address these skills gaps? Most organizations are providing training and learning opportunities to upskill and reskill employees. The most common methods were instructor-led virtual and traditional classrooms. Organizations are also using informal learning methods, including coaching and mentoring.

In addition to providing training and development to address skills gaps, some organizations offered retention programs, collaborated with the public workforce, and recruited individuals with essential skills. However, 65 percent of TD professionals said their organization struggled to find candidates with strong soft skills. The most important soft skills that organizations were looking for were communication skills, problem-solving skills, ethics, and teamwork.


The good news is that working Americans are interested in being trained in these critical soft skills. When asked how likely they would be to participate in employer-provided training, 85 percent said they would likely sign up for critical thinking and problem-solving skills training. 84 percent would sign up for creativity and innovation skills training. 82 percent would be interested in communication and interpersonal skills training. Organizations should ask their employees what training they are interested in and give them opportunities to participate.


For more information about bridging the skills gap at your organization, download ATD's free white paper, Bridging the Skills Gap: Using Learning Opportunities to Address Current and Future Talent Needs, to read the most up-to-date research, case studies, and ATD resources available. Thank you to ETU for sponsoring the report.

Infographic for 2024 Bridging the Skills Gap research report that notes and percentages of common skills gaps.

About the Author

Rocki Basel is the associate director of ATD Research; [email protected].

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