IU Study shows opportunities upskilling opens during the job search.

•   Being laid off can be an opportunity: 48.0 percent of respondents see unemployment as an impulse to find a job they really like to do.
•   The fear of learning something new is big: 29.5 percent of the respondents who don’t feel motivation for upskilling fear difficulties in learning again.
•   Upskilling has to pay off: For 42.8 percent of those surveyed, motivation to learn is particularly high if the measure fits in with their concrete plans for the future.

Erfurt, 28. June 2022. – Learning during unemployment? Even seeing unemployment as an opportunity? The current study "Motivation to learn during unemployment" conducted by IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) confirms that it is possible – even if the feelings of the respondents are mixed. The study deals with the question of how motivated job seekers are when it comes to upskilling. The conclusion: in principle, job seekers are positive about training programmes. However, many fear that they are no longer capable of learning and are afraid of learning new things.

Unemployed, not without opportunities!
More than one third of those surveyed (37.2 per cent) see unemployment as an opportunity, especially to finally find a fulfilling job that they really like to do: 48.0 per cent of those who see new perspectives through their unemployment indicate this point as the number one opportunity.

Above all, unemployment offers one thing: more time for one's own personal future plans and for what one really wants to do in the future. This is stated by 42.4 percent. And 38.6 percent want to use the time they have gained for further training.

An opportunity that Prof. Dr. Svenja Krämer , Professor of Adult Education at IU International University of Applied Sciences, also emphasises: "Upskilling is not just a transfer of knowledge. Upskilling is an impulse, a phase of rethinking, of reshaping. Those who continue their education make new contacts, get to know new people. And they develop completely new job perspectives that they might not have thought about before. One can think about one’s own wishes and needs again and, with an up-to-date certification, can achieve new successes in and enjoyment of one’s job. Above all, a formally recognised qualification supports employability."

Learning as a hurdle? Break down barriers!
Those who keep upskilling learn a lot of new things. But the step back into the classroom is a hurdle for some: 29.5 percent of the respondents who don’t feel motivation to keep upskilling indicate that they would have difficulties to learn again as a reason. At the same time, unemployment is a stressful time: 25.6 percent of the demotivated feel too stressed by the job loss to deal with upskilling programmes. Additionally, 24.2 per cent say that upskilling wouldn’t help them on.

Providers of upskilling programmes should break down these barriers, explains Prof. Krämer: "Learning in adulthood shouldn’t create additional pressure, but should offer perspectives and support. Learning is sometimes associated with additional stress, which is a major hurdle for many. But this concern is unfounded: Low-threshold support during the training with tutors, personal contact persons and joint learning events with other students can break down the barriers. Learning is individual. Learning processes and learning behaviour are very personal.”

What am I actually doing this for? Personal motivation to learn.
For 42.8 per cent of those surveyed, motivation to learn is particularly high when what they have learned is relevant to their personal goals. 39.6 per cent particularly appreciate offers with content they can immediately put into practice – and feel especially motivated by this. Personal development is almost as important: for 38.6 per cent, it is extremely motivating when they can observe a personal improvement during the learning process.
However, as promising as upskilling might be, almost half (44.7 per cent) of the respondents are not planning any upskilling at the moment, according to the study. Almost one in five (19.2 per cent) have simply not yet thought about starting a training at all, while 17.4 per cent of respondents have no precise idea of what they should actually learn. 15.6 percent see no personal benefit in upskilling. 

Above all, the motivation to take up a training increases if the respondents can be sure of getting a job afterwards. This is stated by 55.0 percent of those who aren’t currently planning any upskilling. Simultaneously, the prospect of a higher starting salary in the new job would also motivate 40.5 percent of the study participants without concrete plans for upskilling programmes.


About the study
As part of the IU study "Motivation to learn during unemployment", 1,002 people who have been unemployed for 24 months or less were surveyed. 43.1 percent of the respondents were female, 56.4 percent male and 0.5 percent diverse. The study looked into the question of how high the motivation of job seekers is to complete a training, what role the topic of learning plays in this context and what hurdles exist in the learning process. For this purpose, the personal motivation to learn was asked as well as the criteria for ideal further upskilling programme. The study also looked at the reasons why job seekers do not take part in an upskilling programme.

The white paper on the study is available here. 

About IU International University of Applied Sciences
With over 85,000 students, IU International University of Applied Sciences (IU) is the largest university in Germany. The private, state-recognised higher education institution offers more than 200 bachelor's and master's degree programmes under its roof, available in German or English. Students can shape their studies their way through the help of a digitally supported learning environment with various study models, such as dual study, distance learning and myStudies – which combines online and on-campus studies. In addition, IU facilitates continuing education and promotes the idea of lifelong learning. In alignment with the university’s mission, it aims to provide access to personalised education to as many people worldwide as possible. IU began operations in 2000 and is now represented in 28 German cities. It cooperates with over 10,000 companies and actively supports them in employee development. Its partners include Deutsche Bahn, Motel One, Telekom, Vodafone und VW Financial Services. Further information at: www.iu.org