Most adults in the U.S. consider themselves to be lifelong learners, either continuing their education through personal interests or improving their job skills, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. Adults with higher incomes and more education, as well as internet-connecting technologies, are more likely to engage in lifelong learning, indicating that a higher education continues to hold value for the duration of a person's career.
The survey found that 73 percent of adults consider themselves to be lifelong learners, 74 percent of whom consider themselves to be personal learners who pursue knowledge about something that interests them. Sixty-three percent of those who said they are lifelong learners who are working (about 36 percent of all adults) can be described as professional learners who have taken a course or received additional training in the last 12 months to improve their job skills or expertise.
According to the survey, Americans from lower-income households are less likely to be either professional or personal learners than those in higher-income households, and those with college degrees are more likely to engage in lifelong learning as well.
For professional learning, 72 percent of employed adults with at least a bachelor’s degree have engaged in some job-related training in the past year, compared with only 49 percent of employed adults with a high school degree or less. A majority of employed adults — 87 percent — said they engaged in work or career learning to improve their job skills, while 57 percent said they did so in order to get a license or certification needed for their job.
Furthermore, 65 percent of professional learners said their learning in the past year expanded their professional network, 47 percent said it helped them advance within their currency company, and 29 percent said it enabled them to find a new job either with their current employer or with a new one. Twenty-seven percent said their learning helped them consider a career path different from the one they were currently on.
Publication Date: 3/31/2016