Education is an equalizer, and certain groups of workers believe lifelong learning can help them increase professional success

Underrepresented workers feel lifelong learning is key to a level playing field


Education is an equalizer, and certain groups of workers believe lifelong learning can help them increase professional success

After more than a year of financial insecurities created by furloughs and job losses, working Americans – and particularly those in underrepresented groups – are placing a high priority on job-related learning and lifelong learning to ensure their futures, according to a new report from Bright Horizons.

The report is the first from the Bright Horizons 2021 Education Index, a series of research reports that will explore issues related to education. The inaugural report, “Workforce Education and Equity in the Workplace,” which was conducted by Kelton Global, surveyed American working adults on their sentiment and outlook on the role of education for professional growth. 

According to the report, Black (90 percent) and Hispanic/Latino (91 percent) workers believe learning new skills will be important for them to succeed in the future. Specifically, 87 percent of Black workers and 80 percent of Hispanic/Latino workers say completing a certificate program will be important for future success — versus 62 percent of white workers.  Additionally, 81 percent of Black and 79 percent of Hispanic/Latino workers believe a degree will be important for future success, more so than their white peers (50 percent).

Coming out of the pandemic, nearly half (45 percent) of American workers surveyed state that their education became even more important for their growth in the past year, with Black (55 percent) and Hispanic/Latino (54 percent) employees feeling this more strongly than white (41 percent) workers.

“The data show that underrepresented employees feel that the odds are stacked against them in their careers, and access to education is a key element that can level the playing field in the workplace. This is where employers need to step in or risk their organization’s reputation and employee morale,” said Dr. Jill Buban, General Manager of Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions.

Laura Ascione