Training & Learning

10 Digital Skills Examples to Help You Upskill Employees

These days, digital skills are required for all levels of jobs. In 2019 alone, 82% of job descriptions in the UK included at least one digital skill as a requirement.  

In the modern workplace, digital skills are part of the core abilities your workers need in order to effectively do their jobs. While younger generations of workers might have a leg up when it comes to certain digital skills, like adapting to a new video conferencing platform, there’s a significant skills gap when it comes to newer technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity. 

All workers, including digital natives like Gen Z, can benefit from digital upskilling. It’s up to Learning and development teams to create learning opportunities for workers to level up their digital skill sets in the flow of their work—and it all starts by understanding your organisation’s goals.   

In this article, we’ll explain the digital skills gap and why it’s widening in a post-pandemic climate. Then, we’ll break down the most in-demand digital skills for workers, whether they need to learn basic tech competencies or upskill to more advanced tasks.

What is the digital skills gap?  

The widening space between the demand for digital literacy and workers’ capabilities is called the digital skills gap.

In the UK, there’s a major divide between the skills sought by employers and the skillset of most workers. According to the Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index in 2020, as many as 52% of the workforce in the UK lack digital skills

This doesn’t just mean workers lack highly specialised skills, like coding or quantum computing. It means that a majority of workers aren’t able to properly use a computer or type efficiently. In a recent study, roughly one in five adult respondents in the UK were unsure how to use the internet. This is especially concerning when you consider the rise in cyber attacks has increased by 81% since 2020.  

So, what exactly is causing this gap in digital literacy? There’s no denying the effects of the pandemic, which provided a crash course in digital learning for many workers. 

Remote work became the norm, and workers had to learn tools like Zoom virtually overnight. Anyone familiar with these tools had an automatic leg up. But those who were new to digital technologies had a steep learning curve with very little support. 

Another factor that leads to a widening skills gap falls on the education system for younger generations. A recent report from Intel found that Gen Z students are graduating with a surprising lack of understanding when it comes to technology like AI and cybersecurity. This means workplaces can’t assume a general knowledge of digital skills for their workers based on age alone. 

So, what can your organisation do to close its digital skills gap? Here are four recommendations:

  1. Identify the gaps in your workforce by conducting a training needs analysis
  2. Encourage self-directed learning, so workers can access training materials to upskill in the flow of their work.  
  3. Build mentorship opportunities to provide long-term support to colleagues.  
  4. Find ways to encourage internal knowledge sharing, like discussion forums, skillshare sessions, or networking events.

Looking for more tips on how to conduct a training needs analysis? Download our free template to ensure you cover off all the key steps involved.

Training Needs Analysis Template

Simplify your training needs analysis with our free template

5 essential digital skills for your UK workers

In an increasingly tech-focused world, it’s worth ensuring that everyone has a fundamental understanding of how to use digital tools, send an email, and navigate the web safely. 

It’s an essential level of skills that all workers, regardless of industry or job level, need to have. This not only makes your workers more competitive, but it also protects your business from mis-hires and keeps your digital infrastructure secure. 

Here are five essential digital skills your workforce needs:

  1. Computer literacy. This includes knowing how to store files properly, type efficiently, and access your organisation’s most-used digital channels, like Slack and email. 
  2. Social media basics. Help your workers understand the differences between platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook 
  3. Data entry. An Excel spreadsheet might be overwhelming for many workers, but navigating a spreadsheet is a must-have skill for most workplaces. 
  4. Web security. Ensure your workers understand the basics when it comes to visiting secure websites, using WireGaurd VPNs, and minimising exposure to malware and computer viruses. 
  5. Email and chat. Many workers likely understand the basics of email or chat navigation, but you should offer a refresher for many soft skills like writing a proper email signature, chat etiquette, and best practices when it comes to spam. 

5 advanced digital skills for the workplace

For workers who have the basics nailed down, there are plenty of upskilling opportunities to level up to more advanced digital skills. 

By 2025, an estimated 85 million jobs will be displaced globally due to automation. It’s projected that 97 million new jobs will be created, but workers need support in order to learn how to do those jobs properly.  

L&D teams that take the time to upskill their workforce now will be at an advantage. As tech inevitably evolves, those workers will be the ones who can best keep up. 

These five more advanced digital skills focus on automations, like AI, as well as data sciences:

1. Project management 

Give your workers the skills to keep projects on track with digital organisational tools like Trello or Asana. That way, you can meet your business objectives with minimal delays.

2. Artificial intelligence 

In the digital world, AI is touted as the solution to increasing worker productivity. Workers need to know how to programme tools that use AI at your organisation—like productivity tools, text annotation, or data analysis tools—to increase accuracy on reports.

3. Digital marketing basics 

This includes areas for digital content creation, like social media marketing and email marketing. It also includes digital marketing skills like marketing automation and SEO.

4. Data visualisation

This is a kind of data analysis that focuses on transforming data into eye-catching visuals to catch the attention of viewers. 

5. User experience design (UX) 

Ensure any digital products your workforce builds will succeed by giving your workers a foundational understanding of user experience best practices and how to use various prototype testing software.

Use digital upskilling to future-proof your workplace culture 

Digital upskilling has tremendous benefits not only for employees but also for organisations to improve employee satisfaction and retain their top talent.

A continuous learning culture can encourage workers to declare their learning needs, work collaboratively to design training materials, and share their knowledge in order to upskill in the flow of their work. 

Interested to learn how you can support your workers through a continuous learning culture? Get in touch with one of our learning experts to find out more. 

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