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Demand Grows for Sustainability Skills as ESG Sentiment Shifts and Regulatory Pressures Rise

Latest data from Udemy highlights rising interest in ESG and supply chain skills, alongside AI, language acquisition, cybersecurity and tech certifications

Udemy (Nasdaq: UDMY), a leading online skills marketplace and learning platform, today released its Q1 2024 Global Workplace Learning Index, a quarterly report highlighting in-demand skills that help companies remain competitive in a fast-changing global economy.

The Index provides quarter-over-quarter data on trends in course consumption based on the courses taken by Udemy Business customers, representing 16,000 companies from various industries. By comparing these trends with emerging skills gaps, Udemy identifies opportunities to meet course demand while supporting organizations and learners in an increasingly adaptive global workplace.

“More and more organizations are transitioning to a skills-based approach for their workforce," said Greg Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer at Udemy. “As organizations prepare to address changing ESG requirements while building cross-continental teams and keeping up with the pace of AI adoption, they must invest in the right learning tools so their workforce can develop the skills needed to get ahead.”

The Q1 2024 Index highlighted several emerging themes in corporate learning, including:

  • Continued interest in sustainability and supply chains. Supply chain courses remained a top growth area of interest, seeing a 29% increase in Q1. Specifically, sustainability within supply chains and ESG-related topics continue to top the list of in-demand professional skills. Less than half of CFOs are confident their teams have the skills and resources to respond to changing regulations on the horizon, driving investment in skills development to understand new reporting requirements and meeting investor and customer demand for sustainably responsible business practices.
  • GenAI continues to be in high demand, driving a need for skills to build new models. ChatGPT was the fastest-growing skill in 2023, with learners consuming 79 million minutes of related course content. GenAI continues to be a trending course topic, seeing a 21% increase in consumption in Q1 as the workplace looks to find new and innovative ways to build AI into operations with their models. They are also investing in AI deep learning, which grew at a rate of 22%. Udemy sees a continuing trend of learners looking to focus on how they practically apply AI in their lives.
  • The explosion of AI has led to a premium on cybersecurity skills. GenAI drove a 135% increase in AI-driven social engineering cyber attacks in just the first few months of 2023. Information security course consumption increased by 22% as more companies recognized cybersecurity as critical to mitigating the risks posed by sharing data across different large-language models (LLMs). One of the top courses driving GenAI skill demand was specifically focused on cybersecurity.
  • Language skills remain in high demand. The highest professional skill learning area in Q1 was the TOEIC Test (38%), a global standard for assessing English language skills, particularly among business professionals. Many multinational organizations use English as the primary language among their workforce, requiring a certain standard level or grade on an English language exam. Spanish language acquisition had the second-highest growth in the last quarter, at 26%.
  • IT certifications are in high demand for employees to stay competitive. Data from the Q4 2023 Index highlighted the ongoing demand for IT certifications. Udemy is among the largest IT certification training platforms on the market, with 10 million enrollments in the past year. This trend continued in Q1 2024, with certification prep courses seeing strong demand globally. Notably, demand for Amazon AWS certification training grew rapidly in the US (140%), India (145%), and Australia (62%). Microsoft Azure certification prep also surged globally (40%) and in Japan (85%). To address continued demand, Udemy introduced the Integrated Skills Framework in 2023 for the discovery, preparation, and demonstration of skill-building in organizations through badging and certifications.

“It’s encouraging to see leaders invest in sustainability skill development at a time when consumers and stakeholders are increasingly demanding better business transparency and ethical practices,” said Peter Alkema, Udemy instructor and ESG expert. “Skills like sustainable supply chain management and meeting global ESG reporting standards have become paramount to successful business strategy. Leaders who train their workforce in the fundamentals of sustainability set themselves up for stronger brand reputation and employee engagement, while also getting ahead of potential risks and shifting ESG regulatory requirements.”

To learn more about how organizations can partner with Udemy Business to upskill for the future, visit:


The Udemy Global Workplace Learning Index uses data from thousands of Udemy Business customers worldwide. Location data is based on the country associated with the company. The skills data compares the consumption of courses in the Udemy Business collection from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024. Courses are associated with one or more topics, with a maximum of five topics per course. The trending skills that you see in the report are based on these topics. If a course covers multiple topics, consumption minutes are divided equally across all topics associated with the course.

About Udemy

Udemy (Nasdaq: UDMY) transforms lives through learning by providing flexible and effective skills development and validation. Through the Udemy Intelligent Skills Platform and its community of instructors, millions of learners gain expertise in a wide range of technical and professional skills – from generative AI to leadership. The Udemy marketplace provides learners with thousands of up-to-date courses in dozens of languages, offering a variety of solutions to achieve their goals. Udemy Business empowers enterprises to offer on-demand learning for all employees, immersive learning for tech teams, and cohort learning for leaders. Udemy Business customers include Fender, Glassdoor, On24, The World Bank and Volkswagen. Udemy is headquartered in San Francisco with hubs in Denver, USA; Ankara and Istanbul, Türkiye; Dublin, Ireland; Melbourne, Australia; and Gurugram, India.


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