The Upskill Ultimatum

Transform your training or lose your talent

The Upskill Ultimatum examines the opinions and predictions of knowledge workers and HR professionals on the evolution of training and the urgent need for innovative & immersive platforms to prepare companies for the next era of work.

Opinion research was conducted among 1,000 knowledge workers and 1,000 HR professionals working in both large, established corporations with over 5,000 employees and mid-market businesses (1,000-4,999 employees). Respondents were based in the UK and the USA. The study focused on the following sectors: transport, CPG, pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, power & utilities and professional services.


knowledge workers


HR professionals


company size


based respondents

Employees are demanding more diverse reskilling and upskilling

With the pace of digital transformation accelerating rapidly, employees expect to receive frequent reskilling and upskilling from their employer. If leaders fail to meet these expectations, they face the acute risk of widespread talent loss in a market where talent is already in short supply.


of employees say they would move companies if they weren’t receiving the level of training they need. And a quarter say that they have not learnt anything new through workplace training in the last year.


of HR professionals say that there is an emerging skills gap in their organization, resulting in operational company risk.


of HR professionals believe that today’s training deployment is not fit for purpose in a hybrid working world.


of HR professionals and 61% of employees think that companies that fail to employ cutting-edge immersive training technologies will struggle to attract and retain top talent.

HR teams need to deliver immersive training to address major talent management challenges

As we move into a hybrid working world, cutting-edge training technologies – such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), 360-degree video, and interactive 3D desktop or mobile experience – could be the key to solving critical business challenges.


of employees say that immersive tech would make training exciting for the first time ever.


of HR professionals and 62% of employees say that immersive tech would provide safe training in high-risk scenarios.


of HR professionals and 58% of employees believe that on-demand immersive training could be the key to solving the productivity crisis in the workplace.

“In my experience, I find that most users have a desire to learn new things but struggle to find the time and motivation. At the same time, those creating learning opportunities are challenged to tailor the programs and the delivery of these materials in a way that allows users to step away from the standard workstream and invest themselves in the learning experience.

This is what sets immersive technologies, such as VR, apart from other forms of virtual learning. The next-level data capture means that users time is used effectively and offers a distraction-free engagement. In my opinion, VR also attacks a central challenge of learning, where the user is immersed in the experience that can engage multiple senses and allow a richer learning session which seems to create a greater opportunity to retain what is learned.

Mark Christianson
Digital Experience Delivery Senior Lead
Mars, Incorporated

Future-thinking companies engage with innovative training

A two-tier system is beginning to emerge between the companies that are investing in cutting-edge training platforms and the ones that aren’t. If businesses want to avoid falling behind in a post-vaccine economy – due to declining innovation, reputation and, ultimately, market share – they need to take a bold approach to upskilling.

Yet HR teams plan to delay for several years

2027 is the average year they believe their organization will pull the plug on traditional training methods. And, although most companies have begun to engage with immersive tech at some level, only a small number (10%) are currently using it company wide. On average, companies think they will have fully rolled out this tech by 2028.

Successful organizations are already embracing immersive training & tech

38% of high-performing businesses are using at least one form of immersive technology company wide, compared to 23% of low-performers.

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