SumTotal Systems, a Skillsoft (NYSE: SKIL) company and global leader in talent acquisition, onboarding, learning management, and talent management solutions, has today released the findings of new research, revealing that 65 percent of learning and development (L&D) professionals are concerned about their organisation’s ability to meet skills demand over the next 24 months, given the current UK economic outlook. 

The study, carried out at Learning Technologies 2022, found that 60 percent of respondents are expecting new recruitment challenges to emerge in the UK due to global political unrest. For more than half (55 percent) of respondents, economic uncertainty has forced their organisations to adapt recruitment processes. And although 64 percent of respondents believe the pandemic made the digital skills gap in the UK slightly or significantly better, just 12 percent of organisations are very prepared and 26 percent somewhat prepared if skills shortages worsen post-pandemic. As a result, more than one-quarter of organisations describe their outlook for talent management in a post-pandemic business landscape as one of “continued uncertainty.”

The survey closely examined the impact of the pandemic on L&D priorities and recruitment strategies. Additional key findings include:

  • 55 percent said their organisations have experienced greater difficulty with recruitment since the pandemic.
  • 56 percent delayed hiring decisions due to the pandemic; 17 percent delayed most hiring decisions and just 36 percent stated hiring decisions were unaffected.
  • Of those that delayed hiring decisions, 27 percent have already made them and 37 percent are making them now, while 36 percent either expect to make them in the next 3-12 month, or don’t know.
  • 63 percent now place more focus on workforce planning and development compared to pre-pandemic.

“The opinions and experiences of L&D professionals are an important reflection of a range of crucial business trends, and their concerns underline the continuing impact of skills shortages on UK plc,” commented Ian Rawlings, RVP EMEA at SumTotal. “And while it’s clear the pandemic had a significant impact on both L&D and recruitment, organisations are now also focused on meeting a range of new challenges. The ability of L&D teams to adapt will play a key role in determining which employers attract, develop, and retain the talent they need to succeed.”

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*SumTotal’s survey was conducted in person at Learning Technologies on 4 May 2022, yielding 150 responses from UK Learning and Development professionals. All participants were attendees of the event, and responses were tabulated using Google Forms.