page banner image

More than one in four American workers say they lack the skills and training to advance in their careers.

By Adam Hunter

December 16, 2018

Unemployment is at its lowest point since 1969 and job openings are at a 17-year high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With a tightened labor market the competition for candidates with the right skill set is soaring. Yet, many workers lack the skills necessary to pursue new opportunities, suggests a new survey from Prudential Financial, Inc.

The fifth American Workers Survey, conducted in November on behalf of Prudential by Morning Consult, found that more than one in four American Workers say opportunities for career advancement are available to them—but they lack the skills and training for these positions.

The skills gap is even more concerning for Millennials—51 percent say they’re worried a lack of skills or education will negatively impact their career in the next five years.


Chart: I am concerned that my lack of skills/education will negatively impact my career in the next 5 years: 51% Millennials, 43% Gen Xers, 28% Boomers


The biggest barriers to building those skills? According to American workers, access to educational opportunities and financial concerns rank at the top. For Millennials, most likely to be new parents, more than half say learning and developing new skills will require access to affordable childcare.

American workers expect the private sector to take the lead in their personal development—nearly four in five say the private sector has responsibility for retraining, and nearly six in 10 expect their employer to help pay for training and new skills.

“Jobs are core to the foundation of American workers’ financial well-being,” said Rob Falzon, vice chairman of Prudential. “Right now, there’s a skills gap emerging. There’s competition for talent, but at the same time, the jobs are changing as a result of disruption. Ensuring workers have the right skill sets to fill these jobs will be paramount for their future financial wellness.” 

Prudential has been addressing the challenge through many initiatives including investments in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, its program with Workplace Opportunity Services to train veterans and military spouses for the civilian workforce, and its partnerships with local universities to shape educational experiences and mentor students for careers in financial services and information technology.

“The future of work is already here,” Falzon said. “Employers need to create opportunities to strengthen our workforce by increasing worker flexibility and mobility.”

See the fifth American Workers Survey fact sheet for more of the survey findings. For more information on the results of this survey, contact Andrew Simonelli.

Related Items

The American Workers Survey is the fifth in a series conducted on behalf of Prudential by Morning Consult from November 13 to 16, 2018, among a national sample of 1,919 self-identified part-time and full-time employed adults (age 18 and over). The interviews were conducted online, and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, and gender. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of ±2 percentage points. Percentages may not total 100 percent due to rounding.

The Prudential Insurance Company of America and its affiliates, Newark, NJ. 1014799-00001-00