Thirty-five per cent of workers in the UK do not feel they have the opportunity to develop new skills, according to a new study.

The survey, conducted by payroll and HR services provider SD Worx, found that half (49.9%) are not able to even decide for themselves which training courses they can attend.

Workers in the UK place the ability to develop their skillset as the ninth most important factor in employee engagement, compared with the third-most in countries across Europe.

Cathy Geerts, chief HR office at HD Worx, said: “Employers often underestimate the importance of training and upskilling as part of their ongoing jobs.

“No employee wishes to have the feeling that they are stuck in a particular job, especially with all the pressures and uncertainties of the global pandemic. If this year has taught us anything – it is the importance of flexibility, life-long learning and positive attitude as we collectively tackle problems and juggle personal and professional lives.”

The survey also revealed that 72% of employees are constantly trying to obtain further training and development opportunities. Half also said they look at the possibility of attending training courses several times a year.

“This indicates that most employees are looking for ways to become even better at their jobs. Employers should, therefore, take this into account and offer their employees opportunities to take steps in their development,” said Cathy Geerts.

Three in four SMEs claim they already have training projects in place for staff or at least plan to do so. Among medium and large-sized companies, nearly 90% are already involved. However, the results suggest that employee still consider existing programmes to be insufficient.