"This is pointing to a call for action," Smith says. "The call for action is, 'OK. We've been through some lean times. We probably haven't spent on training in the way we should.' ... The way forward to get out of this is to actually begin to reinvest in talent and talent creation."
In a wide disparity, only 53 percent of unemployed workers report that they understand which skills are likely to be in demand in the next five years, compared with an overwhelming majority (80 percent) of employed workers who report the same. Smith's advice for the unemployed: "Don't become disconnected from the marketplace. That's the biggest danger."
He advises both unemployed and employed workers to get out into their communities and volunteer or find ways to develop managerial skills outside the workplace. If you have a job, Smith suggests looking at other areas of your company to see if you can volunteer to help and learn new skills. "You'll learn those skills very quickly," Smith says. "It's a great way to grow those skills that employers are looking for."