Skillable data reveals nearly half of tech worker training goes to waste

Inadequate training puts both tech workers and their employers at risk of being left behind

You wouldn’t let someone fly a plane who has only read the airline manual, yet this is how we often approach tech training.”
— Sarah Danzl, CMO for Skillable

NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, December 14, 2023 / -- New research from Skillable, the pioneer and leading platform for hands-on learning experiences, reveals that while tech workers want to learn and organizations are spending thousands of dollars per employee on learning technology, it is not translating into improved on-the-job performance for four out of 10 IT employees. Inadequate training puts workers at risk of being left behind in the race for tech talent, which is in short supply. It’s also wasteful for employers, which pumped $102 billion into training in 2022 alone, at a time when every dollar counts.

Learning content isn’t tailored to requirements and skill levels, causing frustration and risk

New data from Skillable highlights the top skills tech workers need today and tomorrow. Tech workers said IT infrastructure library/ITIL (53%), IT service management/ITSM (45%) and database management (40%) skills are essential for a successful department working under a CIO or CTO. Tech workers who get these fundamental skills right create a strong foundation to work with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

In addition, tech workers agreed that the top three crucial technology skills they must master to remain competitive are AI trust, risk and security management/AI TRiSM (51%), Composite AI (46%) and Generative AI (44%).

Concerningly, these same tech workers point out that current training hasn’t kept pace with the rate of industry change, and it hasn’t adequately prepared them for the future. An alarming 40% of tech workers reported that they are frustrated that the learning technologies they use don’t help them do their jobs better. The same share said that current learning technology doesn’t allow them to demonstrate their skill proficiency, which limits the opportunity for personalization and makes it difficult to understand their readiness for new opportunities. More than half (59%) indicated they want to see more content that’s relevant to their role, and more than a third (37%) said they struggle with a lack of training tied to a specific level or expertise.

Lack of effective training is an issue for any organization, but especially in high-stakes roles in AI development, cybersecurity and data privacy. Assessing current skill levels and job readiness is table stakes for ensuring ethical use and development of AI, data protection and adhering to data legislation. There is a risk of disengagement with irrelevant training materials, which can also introduce vulnerabilities in compulsory training like cybersecurity and data protection.

Real-world, hands-on training makes learning tech more impactful and engaging

When asked what would make their learning experience more engaging, 67% said real-world applications – the top answer. Bringing skills into the real world via hands-on experiences through virtual labs is clearly the missing piece of the modern-day learning ecosystem.

Real-world, hands-on training is also the way to the future. That’s why tech giants like Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are fighting the upskill battle by getting real about training – and swapping outdated knowledge-based training methods in favor of a hands-on, real-world learning model.

“You wouldn’t let someone fly a plane who has only read the airline manual, yet this is how we often approach tech training,” said Sarah Danzl, Chief Marketing Officer at Skillable. “Hands-on training should be required today, as it’s not only the most effective learning modality and only way to truly validate that tech workers can do the required tasks. That should make it the most important investment for workers and leaders alike while we all prepare for and advance in the future. The right training also positions companies to be more competitive today and going forward.”

This new research is based on a survey of more than 1,000 tech workers that Skillable commissioned and Propeller Insights conducted in November 2023. Over a third (35%) of survey respondents were tech workers at the manager level; more than a quarter were at the C-level.

About Skillable

Skillable is the trusted pioneer and innovator in hands-on learning and skill validation. In job and organization-tailored scenarios, people develop and validate their skills through live learning experiences that accelerate job readiness and produce performance-based skill data and intelligence. Since 2004, more than 400 global customers have created and launched 35 million labs, using Skillable to practice and validate their skills. To learn more, visit

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