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Employees upskill to accelerate careers amid rising workloads: survey

Workers are alert to opportunities, and are highly focused on skills growth while embracing AI amid growing pressure, shows PwC survey

Employees upskill to accelerate careers amid rising workloads: survey
[Source photo: Chetan Jha]

Employees are prioritizing long-term skills growth to accelerate their careers amid rising workloads and heightened workplace uncertainty, according to a survey by consultant PwC.

Amid a growing mix of employee pressures, workers are alert to opportunities elsewhere, and are highly focused on skills growth while embracing artificial intelligence (AI), ‘2024 Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey’ showed.

In the past year, at least five in 10 employees reported increased workloads and a faster pace of workplace change, according to the study that surveyed 56,000 workers across 50 countries and territories.

More than one-quarter (28%) said they are likely to switch employers in the next 12 months, a percentage far higher than during the ‘Great Resignation’ (19%) wave of 2022.

Two-thirds (67%) of those considering moving said skills are an important factor in their decision to stay with their current employer or switch to a new one.

About 62% of employees observed more changes at work in the past year than in the previous year, with 40% reporting significant shifts in their daily responsibilities. Almost half of these employees are unclear about the reasons for these changes.

“As workers navigate through uncertain times, increasing workloads, and financial stress, prioritizing skills development is key. Our survey finds that the focus has shifted from job satisfaction to skill enhancement in a tech-driven landscape. Employers will need to invest in employees and technology to ease pressures and retain top talent,” Alistair McNeish, director, people and organization, PwC Bermuda, said.

As workplace pressures increase, employees are increasingly turning to emerging technologies like generative AI, or GenAI, for support.

Of those using GenAI daily, 82% expect it to boost their work efficiency within the next year, the survey showed.

Employees are also optimistic about GenAI’s potential to support their growth, with 49% of users expecting it to lead to higher salaries—a figure that rises to 76% among daily users.

More than 70% of users agree that GenAI tools will create opportunities to be more creative at work (73%) and improve the quality of their work (72%).


Workers are placing an increased premium on skills growth to mitigate their concerns and accelerate their careers. Employees who said they are likely to switch employers in the next 12 months are nearly twice as likely to strongly consider upskilling (67%) than workers planning to stay (36%).

Fewer than half, or 46% of all employees, moderately or strongly agree that their employer provides adequate opportunities to learn new skills that will be helpful to their careers.

Employees who are likely to leave in the next year may be more attuned to skills changes that are needed than the general workforce, with 51% moderately or strongly agreeing that the skills their job requires will change in the next five years.

Among employees who have not used GenAI in the past 12 months, more than 33% think there are no opportunities to use the technology in their line of work, while 24% don’t have access to the tools at work and 23% don’t know how to use the tools.

Despite the pace of change, there are also signs of optimism and engagement at work as 60% of workers expressed at least moderate job satisfaction (up from 56% in 2023), while more than half, or 57% of employees who view fair pay as necessary, agree that their job is fairly paid.

The survey reported that cost-of-living pressures have slightly eased since 2023. The proportion of workers with money left over each month has risen to 45%, up from 38%. However, more than half, or 52%, say they are still financially stressed to some degree.

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