Study Shows Nearly 75% of U.S. Workers Report Use of Technology Now Critical to Their Careers Due to COVID-19

New research from DeVry University reveals need for technology-related hard skills to stay relevant in current role and advance in a challenging economy; Methods to gain tech skills vary

NAPERVILLE, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nearly three out of four (73 percent) of employed respondents in a national survey conducted by DeVry University said the use of technology has become critical in their careers due to the COVID-19 crisis. And more than half (51 percent) said they need to learn new technology skills to either keep their job, get a promotion or find a new position at a different company.

Examining workforce sentiment during the global pandemic, the survey is part of a larger research initiative into career durability being conducted by DeVry. The latest findings reveal the critical importance employees see in mastering the “hard skills” of technology. Perhaps due to lower investment in employee training programs, employees are increasingly having to turn to “DIY” methods to learn new tech skills for work. These DIY methods include personal research, online resources, learning from mentors, coworkers and friends, or pursuing free or paid classes from external organizations.

“As leaders in lifelong learning, we recognize the urgent need for workers to acquire the skills, mindset and knowledge that allow them to stay relevant in a difficult job market,” said Dave Barnett, DeVry University Chief Human Resources Officer. “Continuous upskilling and reskilling will help employees keep up with the changes in technology and business that are being driven by the COVID-19 crisis.”

Survey participants identified the following hard skills as important to a career:

  • Technical skills, including the use of software and equipment (47 percent)
  • Computer technology (44 percent)
  • Management (29 percent)
  • Data Analysis (14 percent)

“I believe that increasing my technology skills will increase my versatility and value to a company,” said Eric Mitchell, a student at DeVry University studying Technical Management with a concentration in Business Intelligence & Analytics Management. “I also feel that being a lifelong learner by continuing to increase my knowledge as technology changes can help me assure a sustainable career with multiple opportunities towards advancement.”

Survey Takeaways

Technology is “Very Critical” to Careers of Younger Generations

  • 50 percent of employed Millennials said the use of technology is very critical to their careers due to COVID-19
  • 30 percent of Baby Boomers agreed with this statement

Baby Boomers More Likely to Receive Training

  • 43 percent of Baby Boomers said they received some type of employer-based training or employer reimbursement for courses
  • Whereas only 32 percent of Millennial and 22 percent of Gen Z employees received either employer-funded courses or internal training

People are DIYing Technology Skills Training for Work

  • 46% of employed respondents turn to free and paid DIY methods such as personal research, online resources, learning from mentors/coworkers/friends, and free classes from external organizations to learn new technology skills for work
  • 63% of Gen Z and 54% of Millennials use DIY methods compared to 40% of Gen X and 30% of Baby Boomers

“The findings in DeVry’s Durable Value research clearly demonstrate that acquiring tech skills is essential to establishing career durability in today’s workforce,” said Alexandra Levit, chair of the DeVry Career Advisory Board. “Understanding both the skills needed by employers and the specific skill sets employees need to acquire will help workers be more resilient during uncertain times like these, regardless of where they are in the career journey. And right now, that skill set is all around knowing and leveraging technology.”

About the Workforce Sentiment Survey

This CARAVAN survey was conducted by ENGINE INSIGHTS, with a sample of 1,004 adults 18 years of age and older. The online omnibus study was conducted three times a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older. This survey was live on June 24-26, 2020.

About DeVry University

DeVry University’s mission is to foster student learning through high-quality, career-oriented education integrating technology, business, science and the arts. Founded in 1931, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs onsite and online within its six areas of study: Accounting, Business, Healthcare, Technology, Liberal Arts, and Media Arts & Technology. The university is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC, To learn more about DeVry University, visit or DeVry’s newsroom.


Anne Unger

DeVry University

Natalie Berkey

Communications Strategy Group

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