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Qualifications fail to attract UK employees


UK employers are willing to invest, but employees don't consider gaining qualifications a priority, according to a new study.

The survey, undertaken by Taylor Nelson Sofres plc for UKeU, the UK government-backed company set up to provide online degrees from UK universities to students worldwide, examined the views of just over 1000 workers based in the UK, US, Hong Kong and Singapore and studied their attitudes to qualifications, e-learning and the level of support offered by their companies for training and development.

The survey found e-learning was being used by 22 percent of companies, ranging from a surprisingly low figure of 12 percent in the US to 36 percent in Singapore, with 26 percent usage in the UK. 44 percent of respondents who were using e-learning said employees were using it to study for degrees and/or CPD.

The report also showed that UK employees put least store in gaining further qualifications in terms of helping their careers. Only 30 percent of UK respondents agreed that this was important, compared to 46 percent of respondents in the USA. The survey also found that a degree is still the most sought after qualification with 71 percent of respondents citing it as one they would want to obtain.

Lack of funding is the key inhibitor to learning in all countries, except the UK, where lack of time is a bigger inhibitor with 68 percent of employees citing it as a major problem, according to the report.

In general, employees in Hong Kong and Singapore appear to take greater personal responsibility for their learning and development than those in the UK and US, spending more of their own money and having a greater involvement in choosing their training, finds the study. Employers in the UK and US are more generous in their provision, with 26 percent and 42 percent respectively funding training in the coming year, compared to just 10 percent in Hong Kong and 15 percent in Singapore. 26 percent of employers allow employees to take time off for training, irrespective of the level of the course; this is particularly true in the UK where 35 percent do this. 50 percent allow time off, dependent on the course, and 24 percent don’t allow any time off.

When identifying a suitable qualification, 51 percent of respondents looked for a college or university-accredited programme, 47 percent examined the course content, 43 percent were attracted by the particular institution offering the qualification and 42 percent were concerned about the impact of the qualification on future employers.


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