Reskilling and upskilling is the top priority for L&D pros globally

Today, LinkedIn Learning released its 5th annual Workplace Learning Report, highlighting new trends for the state of the Learning & Development (L&D) industry, the skills needed for the new world of work, and learner engagement in hybrid workplaces.

To inspire and inform leaders as they navigate the new world of work, we surveyed 1,236 L&D pros and 861 learners and looked at behavioral insights on how people use LinkedIn Learning. We also conducted interviews with best-in-class leaders to gain insight into how the state of L&D is changing within their organizations and how they plan to approach learning strategies in the year ahead. 

Report highlights include:

  • L&D has a permanent seat in the C-suite, and their role is evolving, with upskilling and reskilling as the top priority
    • 63% of L&D pros globally agree that L&D has a seat at the executive table, up from 24% in March 2020.
    • With the projected permanent seat for L&D in the c-suite in 2021 (per 66% of L&D pros up from 24% in March), the top of mind priorities in rank order are: upskilling and reskilling (59%), leadership and management (53%), and virtual onboarding (33%). 
    • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of L&D pros globally — and nearly three-quarters (73%) in North America — report that their executives have made Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) programs a priority.
    • 51%  of L&D pros say that internal mobility is more of a priority now than before COVID-19, with employees at companies with high internal mobility staying almost 2x longer. Since COVID-19, internal hires make up a greater share of all hires.
  • Resilience and digital fluency are the power skills needed in 2021

    • When we asked L&D pros globally to share which skills were most important to be successful in the new world of work, we gave them many options to choose from — from time management to communication across remote teams. The results that came back were loud and clear: resilience landed the number one slot, and digital fluency came in second in every country we surveyed.

    • Nearly two-thirds (60%) of learners agree that learning makes them more adaptable.

  • Gen Z is learning more than ever to advance their careers
    • 69% of Gen Z learners reported that they are making more time to learn, and our platform data shows Gen Z learners watched 50% more hours per learner of learning content in 2020 vs. 2019
    • 76% of Gen Z learners believe that learning is the key to a successful career. They want to learn new skills to uplevel their performance (83%), and explore topics that they’re curious about (73%). These numbers ranked higher than any other generation when we asked them the same questions. 
    • Gen Z also spends 12% more of their time on LinkedIn Learning building their hard skills when compared to the average learner
  • Community-based learning increases engagement
    • Learners who use social features — Q&A, course shares, learning groups — watch 30x more hours of learning content than learners who don’t.
    • 91% of L&D pros globally agree that teams that learn new skills together are more successful

We hope these insights will help L&D teams build programs around skills that will inspire executives and employees  to co-create a culture of learning that rewards existing employee skills, and fosters their development of new, high-demand skills.


We surveyed 1,260 L&D Professionals and 814 Learners in November 2020 in English, French, and German. The full list of countries we surveyed include: US, UK, India, Canada, Australia, Germany, Singapore, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, Iceland, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Austria, and Switzerland. We also surveyed 3,080 people managers in English who self-identified as having direct reports globally in November and December 2020.