Nearly half of lower-skilled employees say they are not supported in their development, new research shows
Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has today published new research revealing that almost half of lower-skilled employees in the UK do not receive any support for their development from their employers.
Conducted by YouGov for BITC and supported by Phoenix Groups, the research found that 45% of lower-skilled employees reported that they do not receive any support for their development from their employers, compared to just 14% of higher-skilled employees. 
The research also found that compared to their higher-skilled colleagues, lower-skilled workers are far less likely to be offered:
- Performance appraisals (14% vs 47%)
- Regular line management meetings (13% vs 36%).
- Management/supervisor feedback (10% vs 35%)
- Colleague/team feedback (12% vs 29%)
- Objectives and development targets (7% vs 34%)
- Structured training programmes (10% vs 20%)
In addition, the research found that 26% of lower-skilled employees are less likely to have been encouraged to gain the skills needed for more senior roles compared to 57% of those with higher skills.
Development is a key aspect of social mobility and ensures opportunities are open to all employees across the UK, regardless of background. That’s why BITC, in collaboration with Phoenix Group, is calling for all employers to upskill employees at every level of their organisation and ensure that every employee, regardless of role or location, has the opportunity to grow their skillset.
Kate Carr, Employment & Skills Manager at Business in the Community, said:
“It is unacceptable that lower-skilled employees are not being supported by their employers to grow their skillsets and to progress in their careers. Life-long learning is an important part of life and crucial to making the UK a fairer place to live and work, but it’s clear from this research that employers have some work to do to ensure that they are developing people at all levels of their organisations. Investing in skills is not only the right thing to do, but it is also critical if employers want to attract and retain talented employees with the right skills for their business.
Catherine Foot, Director of Phoenix Insights, said:
“At Phoenix Group we share BITC’s belief that learning should be available to all employees regardless of skills level, seniority or sector. Breaking down barriers to lifelong learning can increase productivity, accelerate growth and enable people to stay in fulfilling work for longer, helping people to continue to earn an income and save for their future.”
Phoenix Group is committed to being the best place its employees have ever worked. All colleagues have access to extensive learning opportunities through our Learn and Thrive programme, irrespective of their role and everyone employed by the organisation, regardless of their age, can apply for an apprenticeship based on the government principles and standards in England and Scotland.
Notes to editor
- Read Business in the Community’s full briefing here.
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1097 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th February – 7th March 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of adults in full or part-time employment in an organisation with 2 or more employees in the UK.
For further information, please contact Aoife Butler Nolan, Head of Media, Public Affairs and Policy, on 07702 903 216.