Closing The Digital Skills Gap

Businesses need professionals with digital skills

The UK already has the world’s largest internet-based economy in the World. More and more jobs require a digital skill set, but do we have enough technologically savvy professionals?

After a difficult time, the economy has picked up and its growth comes with new challenges. Two thirds of businesses are looking for professionals with digital skills, but a quarter of these organisations report shortages in digital skill sets.

In order to tackle this issue, companies might consider hosting or outsourcing employee training sessions. With newly gained confidence in their skills, employees contribute to increased productivity, more creativity, and better leadership.

Why the digital skills gap matters

A government report on digital skills in the UK states that 20% of UK adults – around 10.5 million – lack basic online skills. This is a worrying statistic for an economy that is looking to hire more and more experts with digital skills.

The digital skills gap differs between businesses, but with the IT sector and IT departments at the forefront of innovation and new technologies, the shortage of skilled professionals is felt harder. The CBI Gateway to Growth 2014 report shows that almost two thirds (61%) of businesses involved in their survey reported that their employees had weaknesses in IT skills competencies.

L&D programmes help to adopt new technologiesThe Digital Skills Report suggests that there has been a slight increase in the number of training providers in new technology compared to the last survey carried out in 2011, while also highlighting that larger organisations had a greater capacity to upskill their workforce, but their rigid work processes would be too costly to change. Small and medium-sized businesses, on the other hand, had the agilityand flexibility to adapt to market needs. However, SMEs often did not either have the capacity or the budget to take advantage of new technologies.

How the digital skills gap hurts business

According to the (ISC)² Global Workforce Survey from Frost & Sullivan, a quarter of companies that responded will outsource IT work due to a lack of qualified employees. This can be costly, but is well worth it when we look at the business risks; for example, workers who are not educated on best practices in technology can put a company at risk for cyber attacks.

Nearly half of respondents to the Frost & Sullivan survey note that a lack of IT knowledge is the “key reason for data breaches” and disruption for customers, SC Magazine reports. Better training can help reduce outsourcing costs and security risks.

 

How to close the gap

Ensuring that staff have crucial technological skills is essential across almost all industries. Regardless of the field, having effective workers is a necessity.

Although a lot of businesses keep an eye on the future, learning and development programmes can help companies and employees adopt and advance in new technologies in the here and now.


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