Study finds hiring managers more likely to hire people who spent lockdown on professional development

A new survey has found that employers are more likely to hire those who spent the lockdown time on professional development.

You might be tired of people telling you to make the most out of the isolation you’ve been experiencing during the COVID pandemic. But you will be better off in the long run if you take heed.

Hiring managers are more likely to hire people who have been spending the past few months working on their professional development. This is one of those obvious things that probably didn’t need research to prove it, but someone went ahead and researched it anyway.

Nine out of 10 hiring managers prefer someone who worked on professional development

CollegeFinance.com surveyed more than 1,000 people who self-isolated or self-quarantined at some point in recent months and more than 200 hiring managers to learn how people are getting the most out of their downtime and whether efforts at improvement will pay off on the job market.

The most important finding might be that 90% of hiring managers surveyed said they were more likely to hire someone who worked on their professional development during lockdown than someone who didn’t.

More findings include:
  • 83% of respondents said they had learned something new during the pandemic.
  • 78% said they had expanded their existing skills or knowledge.
  • Men were 11% more likely than women to have learned about a new topic during lockdown and 4% more likely to have expanded their existing topical knowledge.
  • Women were more likely to have learned a new hobby or to have broadened their understanding of an existing hobby.
  • 96% of people planned to continue pursuing new skills or knowledge even after lockdown ends.
  • 84% expected to take their new knowledge even further than they’d initially anticipated.
What motivates us to learn and grow

They also asked what motivates people to develop these new skills and hobbies. Here’s what they found:

  • 60% of people who had pursued a new skill set or hobby during the pandemic said it was a self-development pursuit.
  • 43% were hoping to achieve a personal goal.
  • 39% were trying to reduce their stress levels.
  • Only 29% of people expanding their educational knowledge of a topic did so to help advance their career.
  • 14% were hoping to get a promotion out of it.
  • Half of people out of work as a result of the pandemic were learning something new that they didn’t have the time to pursue before.
  • One in four people out of work were learning something new with the hopes of starting a new career.

YouTube was the most popular learning platform, followed by 65% Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and online articles and books.

What did they learn?

Of those who went for certifications, the top 10 most popular certifications were:  

  • Information Technology and Computer Engineering
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Construction
  • Social Work and Psychology
  • Human Resources
  • Event Planning
  • Marketing
  • Environmental Engineering
The most important soft skills

The survey also asked hiring managers what they thought were the most important soft skills for employees to have in the future. The eight most important soft skills they identifies were:

  • Time management
  • Responsibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
  • Self-motivation
  • Stress management

The takeaway from this survey is that it’s important to continue learning and to be self-motivated to do so. Companies want to hire people who are passionate learning. This is not news, but it’s good to have a reminder.

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