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Four In Five Workers Say They Need New Job Skills

A new survey reinforces the need to keep your work abilities up-to-date

By Dan Fastenberg, AOL Jobs | December 17, 2013

If you feel like you are in need of new skills to get ahead in your career, then you are not alone.

In fact, the vast majority of workers today, or 78 percent, say they are in need of new skills to stay in the game and advance, according to a new joint survey conducted by Kaplan University and LinkedIn. 

Survey Says ... 
 
The survey polled more than 1,000 workers on the LinkedIn network and found an across-the-board existential angst among workers today. Some of the key findings:
  • 62 percent of boomers who are at the end of their career say they are in need of new skills.
  • 64 percent of respondents and 55 percent of boomers say education will continue to play an important role in their career advancement.
  • 63 percent of respondents say they regularly devote time to enhancing their online presence.

(MORE: Mr. Millennial's Career Tips for Boomers' Kids)

Employers Also See Skills Gap 
 
As it turns out, these workers aren't off their rocker to be so concerned. As AOL Jobs has reported, roughly four of ten polled employers say they are unable to fill open positions as a result of the so-called skills gap. The gap usually refers to workers' inability to keep up with changing technology.
 
Sophie Vlessing, a senior vice president for Kaplan, agreed about the need for all workers to continue their education and training through their career, no matter their position. “We find that corporate leaders are always looking for people who keep updating their skills. It's basically a requirement to keep evolving," she said.

(MORE: 10 Reasons December is a Great Time to Find a Job)
 
The survey did not question workers about which skills they think they need to improve upon. But according to Vlessing, workers are just as likely to be falling short in the category of “soft skills,” like knowing how to behave in an interview, as they are with keeping up with new technology.

Older Workers Hit Hardest 
 
The gap issue for technical skills is perhaps of greatest relevance to America's oldest workers, who have logged the most years in the workforce before the digital revolution changed everything.

Indeed, America's most veteran workers are fighting irrelevance everyday, and 51 percent of them have said they've been forced to retire earlier than they wanted to, as per a MetLife Mature Market Institute survey released last year that was reported on by AOL Jobs. 


Dan Fastenberg is a staff writer for AOL Jobs.  He is a former reporter with TIME Magazine and writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk.  Follow Dan on Twitter. Email Dan at daniel.fastenberg@teamaol.com. Add Dan to your Google+ circles.