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Workers see retraining as their responsibility

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Three in five (62%) said they are willing to learn a new skill to stay employable

More than half (56%) of workers believe it is their own, rather than their employers', responsibility to learn new skills or completely retrain to keep themselves employable, according to a report from PwC.

Workforce of the future: the competing forces shaping 2030 surveyed 2,000 UK workers and found more than a third (35%) are worried what the future world of work holds for them, the highest globally. Only 26% are confident about the future, and an even smaller percentage (18%) are excited.

However, three in five (62%) said they are willing to learn a new skill to stay employable. While only 35% of those surveyed think that they have all the skills they will need for the rest of their career, 70% believe technology can never replace the human mind. More than three-quarters (78%) believe human skills will always be in demand.

Alex Wilson, UK head of PwC's people and organisation practice, explained that technology is redefining what talent means and what skills will be most valuable to employers in the future. “The speed of change means that the jobs of the future are hard to predict, so people should be thinking of themselves as a bundle of skills rather than a defined role or profession,” he said. “Flexibility and the ability to reinvent yourself will ultimately be the most in-demand skills from employers in the future.”

The PwC report coincides with research from innovation consultancy Happen, which found that CEOs are looking to hire talent with skills including a greater understanding of technology (64%) and a good understanding of artificial intelligence (61%).

Costas Papaikonomou, co-founder of Happen, said employers should try to gain a better understanding of technology to help define their own needs. “There is a need to define what innovation is, and what skills are needed to face the current challenging climate and future uncertainties,” he said. “Technology advances are inevitable and businesses are already starting to experiment with new tools and programs in the workplace, and our study proves it’s a highly desired skill for employees to understand.”