What is the digital skills gap and how is it affecting recruitment and business development?
The digital skills gap is and has been an unfortunate and troubling recruitment trend for 2017, it is a real and persistent issue, and according to the Huffington Post in January 2017, the digital skills gap had already cost the UK economy £63bn plus. You may be aware of this crisis or you may not, but if you’re working in recruitment, you should acquaint yourself with the term and how this affects your profession and so many others, and how we can go about closing the gap!
What is the digital skills gap?
We now live in a digital world which is constantly developing at such a rapid rate, so rapid that the rate of digitally skilled individuals coming into the workplace just can’t keep up.
Almost 90% of new jobs require digital skills of some description (The Tinder Foundation)
The need for digital skills is at a high, the amount of individuals with the digital skills required are not meeting that need, therefore causing a void within organisations. This is not only leading to companies struggling to fill roles with the correct and skilled employees but when digital skills are sourced and hired, it is leading to companies having to pay more for those workers with the correct skills.
The independent reported that according to the British Chambers of Commerce, 84% of firms admitted digital and IT skills to be of more importance to their enterprise now than they were two years ago, showing the growing recognition for a need to have up to date digital skills and departments.
One issue being enhanced by the digital skills gap is the hindrance of development within companies who are lacking those digitally skilled individuals to make further developments and move the company forward. These developments merely aren't made or often the current workforce is more heavily leaned upon, perhaps for tasks entirely unsuited to their skillset, neither option being ideal.
What can we do about this digital skills gap?
Nurturing these digital skills and talent from a young age has already been flagged as an important matter by the government and as of 2014 the initiative to ‘create a code literate next generation’ has been introduced to teach coding in place of traditional IT in schools.
As good as this, is to equip the next generation with the skills to close the gap, these skills aren’t going to reach the workplace immediately, so what else can be done to close this gap and fill the digital roles and job opportunities now?
You can't produce talent that isn't there but can you put more effort and resources into finding tech savvy employees who can be trained in the fields required. Are companies currently doing enough to make the most of the talent they have?
Training for current staff in various areas of digital can help to unlock hidden potential, and being able to advise and offer direction to or even orchestrate this kind of training for organisations could be a popular offering from a recruitment agency.
Continuous or regular in house training opportunities for existing and new employees can help organisations close their own digital skills gap and fulfill their digital needs. However it is important that organisations first know exactly what those needs are. Which skills specifically are required for development and growth? How complex are they and could they easily be trained to a tech savvy member they already employ?
Once the UK begins to close or bridge this gap it must also be maintained, yes, skills are being developed in our younger generations, however the rate of progression in the digital and tech world is high and constant training and development opportunities, even for highly qualified digital staff, will not be wasted time when it comes to staying ahead of the game.