University of Phoenix® School of Business commissioned a survey about professional development, surveying 2,057 employees and 1,005 employers, to better understand how both hiring managers and employees perceive their professional development opportunities. The survey revealed how employees may not be taking advantage of, or be aware of professional development tools they need to strengthen their skills.

In today’s economic climate, it is critical for employers to make their workforce aware of the professional development opportunities that exist, and emphasize the importance of ongoing education to organizational competitiveness, innovation and creativity. The data shows that employees have a high level of confidence in their current skillset, but lack confidence in the current professional development programs their employers offer.

View full infographic


There is a notable disconnect between employers and employees: nearly all hiring managers agree that upskilling and training is critical to the organization’s success. However, 32 percent of employees say they do nothing to update their skills.


Even though a third of employees do not pursue supplemental skill training, the majority say that their profession demands that they learn new skills.

Employees may not be pursuing avenues to update their skills because they are not confident in their employer’s professional development programs.


Offering meaningful professional development ensures organizations can attract and retain talent, while helping employees grow in their current or projected roles.



Additional Findings

  • Nearly half (47 percent) of hiring managers say that in-person training and seminars/conferences are offered in their company, but a full one in 10 (10 percent) say their organization does not offer any formal or official training
  • Nearly all hiring managers (90 percent) agree that keeping skills up to date is part of the job in their organization



The employee survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between Sept. 26 – Oct. 17, 2016, among 2,057 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, who work full-time in a company with 10 employees or more. The employer survey was conducted between Sept. 26 – Oct. 11, 2016, among 1,005 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, who work full-time in a company with 10 employees in HR or a senior leadership role with hiring decision making responsibilities. For complete survey methodology, please contact Becky Frost.