How skills training affects job retention

The current labour shortage – which started due to our aging population – only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are workers now getting to choose from the abundance of available jobs, but many are no longer accepting low pay and poor working conditions.

And it’s far from over. By 2030, experts predict that there will be an estimated shortage of 85 million workers worldwide. Shortages are widespread across industries, but even more so in hospitality, construction and manufacturing.

For employers and Human Resource professionals, the struggle is real when recruiting the right candidates. As a result, many are lowering their hiring expectations and hiring people with little to no experience.

For others, instead of hiring new employees, they’re looking inward – at their current teams – and getting creative about creating loyalty. Although pay raises are a common tactic, they’re often not enough to get people to stay.

But what does often pay off? Investing in your workers’ skills. Here’s how skills training can help your workforce – and your company as a whole.

Benefits to employees and employers

According to the 2017 ADP Canada Sentiment Survey, 40 per cent of working Canadians say that their company rarely or never provides them with career development support. However, 39 per cent of employees say they would take a pay cut from another employer that offered better professional development opportunities.

Employees who see that their company offers skill development are less likely to conduct a job search or entertain an outside offer of employment. Besides being more loyal, they’ll deliver higher productivity levels.

And when employees are more likely to stay, you, as the employer, can avoid the high cost of recruiting, hiring and training new staff. If an experienced team member leaves, an even greater financial cost is at stake in the way of expertise and knowledge loss. 

Get started with skills training

Employee skills training and development programs are a great way to improve employee retention and engagement rates, as well as efficiency, innovation and productivity levels. However, developing a successful program can be time-consuming, costly and challenging without the right tools. Luckily there are many free and easy-to-implement programs that can help you get started with skills training in your workplace.

UP Skills for Work is a free workplace literacy program that helps learners develop key employability and life skills. These skills help workers to be adaptable and motivated throughout their whole employment and as they move into new roles or careers. They also lay the foundation for a strong and flexible workforce and for happy, fulfilled citizens.

UP Skills for Work covers a total of 16 topics — nine of which align with the skills identified by the Government of Canada’s Skills for Success model. These include Adaptability, Collaboration, Communication, and Problem Solving, among others. Strengthening these types of soft skills prepares workers for future leadership roles and helps them enjoy a more fulfilling life outside of work.

UP Skills for Work is designed for flexible delivery in any location and can be run either virtually or in person. Organizations have the option of running the program themselves or with a facilitator from ABC Life Literacy Canada. ABC instructors have backgrounds in adult education and program facilitation, and they deliver workshops in an inclusive and engaging manner that promotes discussion.

Skills for Success Day

Skills for Success Day is the perfect opportunity to introduce skills training to your workplace. This annual initiative takes place each September to raise awareness about the key skills needed to succeed in learning, work and life. These skills, as identified by the Government of Canada (reading, writing, numeracy, digital, problem solving, communication, collaboration, adaptability, creativity and innovation), are the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to change.

Learn more about Skills for Success Day, taking place on September 21, 2023, at

The bottom line

During this global labour shortage, boosting employee retention is more critical than ever. Investing in your employees’ skills may not be easy, but it pays off big time in employee retention, productivity and costs.

For assistance with broadening the skillsets of your employees, reach out to us today. Our UP Skills for Work program can help you invest in your workforce without breaking the bank.