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Data: Reproduced from Udemy's 2017 Skills Gap Report; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. businesses often attribute their struggles to fill the record number of current job openings to a shortage of workers with the right training and skills. Yet many analysts dispute that cause, instead citing uncompetitive salaries, inflated education requirements and biases in screening.

As our recent Udemy report makes clear, however, Americans themselves have no doubt that there are gaps between employees' skills and those employers are looking for — nearly 80% think so, and 35% feel personally affected. These perceptions are especially pronounced among young workers, with 43% of millennials saying they are directly impacted.

Younger workers may also be recognizing that a college diploma won't carry them as far as it used to. They are twice as likely as older workers to have lowered their career outlook. And in a sign of perceived pressure to meet high employer expectations, 26% of workers under age 40 say they've lied on their resume or LinkedIn profile, compared with only 7% of those over 40.

Even still, there are bright spots: 76% of millennial workers say they possess above-average skills, 68% feel their education fully prepared them for their jobs, and 74% believe they know everything they need to know to do their jobs.

The bottom line: Since no one can predict exactly what the jobs of the future will require, today's workers have to continuously maintain and improve their skills. Indeed, being an adaptable learner may be the most important "skill" employees develop to keep driving their careers forward.

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