Professional networking platform LinkedIn has launched its Future of Skills 2019 report, highlighting that businesses risk being left behind if they don’t address a numbers of gaps in employer-employee alignment.

Almost 5000 people (4,136 employees and 844 learning and development (L&D) professionals) were surveyed across Australia, India, Japan and Singapore. About 25 per cent (1,033 employees and 217 development professionals) were Australian.

The report stated by 2020, the Asia-Pacific region will face a labour shortage of 12.3 million workers at an annual opportunity cost of US$4.2 trillion.

“At the heart of this crunch lies skills instability. By 2020, it is expected that 42 per cent of the core skills required for a job will change,” the report said.

“Mapping out what existing talent is capable of and investing in reskilling early can take the sting out of disruption. Having the right data on rising skills in your industry and the skills gap in your workforce can help you navigate through this time of change.”

The report generated behavioural insights based on billions of data points from member engagement on LinkedIn to understand rising skills in the region, how data can signal the transformations and industry innovation, and identified which roles are evolving and how businesses can future-proof.

A key finding was insufficient training is causing one in three employees to quit, outlining a disconnect between employers and employees on professional development.

Other findings from the research included:

  • More than half (52 per cent) of workers place more importance on soft skills, such as adaptability and flexibility, than industry-specific knowledge. That is despite employers reporting three times more demand for “rising” or emerging skills than other types of professional skills.
  • 80 per cent of business CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skill sets, but almost a third (29 per cent) of workers have left a company because of a lack of development opportunities

The top 10 rising skill sets that employers were found to be:

  • Compliance
  • Social media marketing
  • Continuous integration
  • Workflow automation
  • Gesture recognition technology
  • Blockchain
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Robotic process automation
  • Human-centered design
  • Front-end web development

In order, the top three rising skills in Australia are continuous integration, workflow automation and social media marketing.

Of the four key countries surveyed, Australia was found to be least daunted by change (39%), compared to Singapore (65%), India (62%) and Japan (55%).

Australian employees were also found to ideally like to undertake online learning on average 0.5 times a week.