Increase in workers upskilling via AI and social media

03 Jun 2024

Around 62% of workers are seeking alternative sources to learn new skills on social media and online platforms, according to fresh findings released by KPMG. The survey, which polled 2,000 desk-based workers, inquired about the learning avenues they used to enhance digital skills, sector-specific knowledge, and soft skills such as leadership, presentation, networking, and influencing. It revealed that 20% of respondents acknowledged regularly using social media for this purpose. Whilst 56% of employees aged between 18 and 24, and 36% of 25–34-year-olds said they used generative AI to develop workplace skills, compared to 15% of 55–64-year-olds.

In addition, according to a survey carried out by People Management, 63% of respondents said AI and social media are good ways for employees to upskill.

Revolutionary learning

The CEO of Limelite HR, Lisa Murphy, said of this burgeoning trend: “Social media and online learning has been revolutionary in changing people’s learning habits.”  The fact that people are spending more and more time on social media indicates they’ll “absorb learning” from the platforms, via posts, videos and online courses.  “This style of learning can be highly accessible and efficient, it can be as short or as long as the person has available at the time, and can be picked up and put down as needed. It can also be highly relevant to an employee’s requirements at that moment, as opposed to formal programmes which can often teach skills not needed at the time,” Murphy added.

Positive reaction

The KPMG findings should be viewed as a “positive”, according to CareerTree Coaching founder Sarah Archer, as it shows workers are “embracing microlearning” and incorporating “continuous development” into their working day. “Traditional learning methods require a more time-intensive approach, which can feel challenging when you have a busy job,” she said.  

Acquiring the right skills 

Furthermore, the research shows that 44% of workers agreed they were in possession of the required skills to do their job effectively, whilst 43% said they would like more industry-specific knowledge. 

An additional 61% of all workers polled wanted specific AI training, whereas 67% of 18- to 64-year-olds were looking to improve soft skills such as communication and leadership. The results also revealed that 55% of employees were seeking to boost their performance in their current jobs, and 22% wanted to upskill to apply for new roles.

Moreover, younger workers demonstrated a preference for more structured learning methods. While 49% of all respondents expressed a desire to learn through on-the-job experience, this figure dropped to just 36% among individuals aged 18-34.

The research also showed that employers should assist workers in boosting critical thinking skills, ensuring they select good quality and accurate learning. “Providing access to good quality providers of online and social media learning through the workplace, will ensure this type of learning is credible, effective and links to the strategic priorities of the organisation,” said Murphy.