Professional Development and Training Across Generations
Workforce composition is changing rapidly. Many in the Baby Boomer generation (those over 50 years old), long the dominant segment of the U.S. workforce, are now screeching toward retirement to be replaced by far younger workers from Generation Y (20-34 years old). Implications are myriad for employers, particularly with regard to how technology is used in the workforce.
Regardless of age, ongoing education and training remains an essential ingredient in today’s workplace. Whether it’s professional development in a worker’s specific industry or discipline, course work toward certification or accreditation, or technical training that improves job efficiency, most workers typically undergo some form of skills training that furthers their career advancement potential.
Workers generally value training highly and cite more support for training, professional development and the opportunity to acquire new skills. This sentiment runs consistently across all three generations in this study. Career advancement opportunities ranked high in terms of improving job satisfaction as well and professional development training is an obvious conduit for that. A net 6 in 10 workers said they would like to see more professional development and training offered to them in the future.
Three-quarters of the workers in the CompTIA study report either participating in mandatory or voluntary training of some nature in the past 12 months. One-quarter indicated that they had taken part in no training at all. These percentages are consistent across all three of the generations examined (Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomer) although the youngest workers from Gen Y (20-somethings) participated in voluntary training at a higher rate than any other age bracket. Three in 10 sought out training on their own, compared with an average of two in 10 across the other age groups.
In terms of the types of training or professional development that workers have undergone in the last 12 months, the list is varied. Most prevalent is training that is specific to a worker’s profession. Not surprisingly, tech-related training is also high on the list.
Tech training earned high praise; 7 in 10 workers saying it helps ensure they are not left behind at work.
Technology-related training as well social media use education were more prevelant among 20- and 30-something workers. Additionally, workers in senior executive positions were more likely than those in mid-level or staff positions to have taken part in tech-related and socia media training.
CompTIA’s Generational Research on Technology and its Impact in the Workplace is based on a May 2013 online survey of 700 respondents who work in an office environment with some form of technology. The sample included respondents from different age groups and generational cohorts in a variety of industries. The complete report is available at no cost to CompTIA members who can access the file at www.CompTIA.org or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.