The enterprise skills gap–the disparity in the skills job seekers have and the qualifications expected by employers–is still leaving jobs unfilled, according to Udemy’s 2018 Skills Gap Report. And the workforce is taking note: 84% of full-time US employees now believe the skills gap is real, and that they are being left behind.

Because of the heightened prioritization of digital transformation initiatives and artificial intelligence (AI), respondents are not only afraid that the skills needed for their jobs will change (72%), but that automation will replace their jobs within five years (43%).

SEE: IT training policy (Tech Pro Research)

Employees say that training or upskilling is required to keep their jobs, according to the report. However, respondents don’t believe they will get the training they need: Some 45% of women and 51% of men said they do not have confidence in government initiatives to reskill the workforce, the report found. And because of AI, 55% of respondents said they believe they have fewer career advancement opportunities than ever before.

Because of this doubt in corporate and government training efforts, many employees are taking matters into their own hands. Some 34% of respondents reported using online courses as their primary resource for learning new skills, hoping that these new skills may save their jobs. Regular bachelor’s degrees don’t cut it anymore, since the demand for certain skills is constantly evolving: Only 25% of managers said they believe students possess the skills to be promoted, according to the report.

Overall, 51% of respondents said they’d quit a job that didn’t provide necessary work training, but among those who know their companies desire new skills, that number jumps to 80%. These fears are understandable, as the idea of AI taking jobs is not a new concern. More specifically, automation has been rumored to be the key to fixing the enterprise cybersecurity skills gap, according to TechRepublic contributing writer Dan Patterson.

If companies want to hire and retain valuable employees with strong soft skills and adaptability, they must commit to supporting career advancement, the report found. To maintain headcount and business performance, companies need to either offer assurance that new skills won’t take jobs away from employees, or they must provide the teaching and learning necessary to grow, according to the report.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • More than half of employees (51%) said they would quit a job that doesn’t offer training for new skills, due to the fear of ultimately losing their jobs. — Udemy, 2018
  • To retain employees, companies must provide requisite training for skills they want their employees to adopt. –Udemy, 2018