For brands to catch fire, companies rely on talent, marketing, and technology as kindling. The pandemic was an accelerant — fast-tracking trends, compressing timelines, and requiring skills of the future, now.

Keeping competency current and being proactively prepared for what’s next has never been more important. To build on Albert Einstein’s quote: “Once you stop learning, your career starts dying.”

Here’s what employees think about professional development and employers that create a learning organization.

Obsolescence anxiety

Evolving and emerging technology is constantly disrupting and progressing how we work and the skills our jobs require. It can feel overwhelming, and it’s a concern among a plurality of those polled. Top talent will seek organizations that are using the latest tools, technology, and training to ensure employees are keeping skills sharp and maintaining their edge as they progress on their career journey. Employers who are slow adopters will struggle to attract workers who aspire to excellence.

Competency as collaboration

Professional development, upskilling, learning new technology and skills — these are all critical to job mastery and staying ahead of changing role demands. The majority of poll respondents believe that both the employer and employee need to step up to keep the employee skilled for success today and in the future. Almost one-third, however, aren’t leaving their competency in anyone else’s hands and take full responsibility for their expertise.

Learning organizations are winning

Professional development and training opportunities are highly valued career perks that job candidates consider when evaluating an employer. Respondents indicated that learning organizations would have the upper hand in attracting talent. Employers struggling in this competitive hiring market might consider how they can highlight documented examples of employees leveling up in their functional and managerial abilities through company-sponsored learning.

Train. Develop. Retain.

Studies have shown that companies that actively offer training, development, and professional growth opportunities have more loyal and engaged employees. Yet, our poll found that just 41 percent said their employer is supportive or extremely supportive of their professional growth and development. That leaves a lot of workers wondering who might take a keener interest in futureproofing their careers. In a hiring market where there are more jobs open than candidates, learning neutral employers might be pushing their best employees to seek greener growth pastures.

The more you know… employees value meaningful career growth opportunities. Gone are the days of accepting a job to fill a position. Today’s candidates are hungry to learn how they’ll develop in a role and how their employer will help support them in doing so. As technology advances and how we work changes, continuing to sharpen the skill sets of employees will be key to the ongoing success of an organization. Investing in learning is never a bad idea.