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Contingent workers not receiving training

Despite the contingent workforce growing in recent years, research shows that employers are failing to provide them with adequate training and development

One in five (20%) UK employers do not provide their contingent workforce with any training, according to research from City & Guilds Group.

Businesses reported the lowest levels of training effectiveness in this group too, with a quarter (24%) deeming training for contingent workers ineffective.

The study of 500 employees and 100 employers in the UK, and a further 6,000 employees and 1,200 employers globally, found that 84% of UK organisations use contingent workers, and 35% anticipate that their use of this workforce will increase over the next three to five years.

Contingent workers themselves also felt that they had not received enough training. The research found that contingent workers around the world were most likely to say that the current training they receive has had no impact on their performance at work (24% compared to 19% for people on permanent contracts). They are also less aware of the purpose and value of training to both themselves and the organisation (18% compared to 23% for permanent employees).

The most common method for developing contingent workers in the UK is on-the-job training (19%). However, the research suggested that some employers think their contingent workforce would benefit from alternative forms of L&D.

More than a fifth (22%) said that improved delivery platforms would help, followed by more self-guided/self-service learning (18%), and a better blend of online and offline learning (17%). This was echoed by contingent workers around the world, with 68% agreeing that if they had more direct control over the pace of workplace learning or training they would learn new skills more quickly.

John Yates, group director of corporate learning at City and Guilds Group, said that employers need to focus on delivering training that matches the changing workforce.

“Not only are the skills that businesses need transforming, so is the workforce itself. Contingent working arrangements are on the rise and becoming more important as both employers and employees seek greater flexibility in the face of an uncertain future," he said.

“However, our research shows that current workplace training programmes are not catering to this growing workforce – preventing both individuals and organisations from safeguarding their future. For employers this is especially dangerous where workers aren’t receiving essential training like onboarding or compliance – leaving them open to commercial and reputational risk. But it also extends to their broader development; for any worker to add the most value to their organisation their skills need to keep up with the pace of change."

City & Guilds Group surveyed a global sample of 6,532 employees in companies of 10 or more people and 1,304 employers in companies with 25 or more employees across 13 markets. This included 100 employers and 500 employees in the UK.